Modest proposal: Build a railroad instead

Letter to the editor

Posted: Monday, December 05, 2005

Americans think of Alaska as their own special place. Unspoiled natural beauty, rugged individualism and a jewel of a dream to hopefully experience at least once in a lifetime. The Inside Passage cruise on an ocean-going ship is a favorite among seniors. Casual, comfortable and convenient, the Inside Passage cruise only or coordinated with a road trip or air flight - many options present themselves. However, a rail link to Alaska and to Juneau would offer a world of possibilities for tourism, commerce and joining Alaska together for the benefit of all Alaskans.

A road to Juneau would be very costly and destroy many of the environmental aspects that visitors enjoy, but a railroad to Juneau would open the natural beauty value without many of the distractions. Imagine the millions of Americans that could afford and enjoy a rail journey through Canada to Juneau, then hop on a ship to return by ocean passage. The tourist-economic benefits to Juneau would be much more than just a quick stopover on a cruise ship.

All of Alaska would benefit with an Alaska-Canada railroad joining the nation to Alaska airports for transshipping passengers and cargo to the rest of the world. Reduced freight charges, convenient travel for Alaskans and an alternative secure military resupply route are also good reasons for this moderate investment by the state in a railroad. An additional railroad to Juneau would round out the tourist possibilities and secure Juneau as our capital.

Another main point to keep in mind, you can take your car on the railroad, too. Price of fuel, minimal environmental impact, reduced transportation costs and many tourist options are all good reasons why a railroad to Alaska and Juneau is a good investment for everybody.

Dae Miles


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