State wastes money by building the road

Posted: Sunday, November 26, 2006

It is very disappointing that our lame-duck governor wants to throw another $30 million of our money into the bottomless pit called the East Lynn Canal Road. That money could be better used to fund ferry service between Juneau, Haines and Skagway perpetually.

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If the state were to invest this money, along with the $45 million that the governor bullied the Legislature into appropriating for the road last year, into a Marine Highway Fund, the interest earned would be enough to cover the state's annual operating deficit for all Lynn Canal ferries. Large institutional investment accounts have historically earned 8 percent interest. A $75 million investment would yield about $6 million annually.

The Juneau Access Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement states that ferries in Lynn Canal cost the state about $5 million annually to operate. We could have frequent, reliable ferry service if our state government wanted it to happen.

For those of us who see the east side of Lynn Canal daily, the idea of a road traversing that terrain is insane. Recent snowfalls and storm-force winds have sent avalanches thundering down. The Department of Transportation's plan of avalanche control with helicopters is ludicrous. The road would either be closed most of the winter or a death trap.

Who wants this road? Haines and Skagway don't. Juneau voters just elected three representatives who support improved ferry service over a road.

Rob Goldberg


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