Alaska DOT fires back

News AASHTO Journal June 25, 2004
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Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities Commissioner Mike Barton defended recent criticism of the proposed Ju

Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities Commissioner Mike Barton defended recent criticism of the proposed Juneau Access Road as a vital highway project linking the Alaskan capital city with other destinations.


In a June 4 letter to report co-author Friends of the Earth (FOE), Barton points out the group's opposition to the Juneau project implies it is in favor of burning more fossil fuel to ferry vehicles between destinations instead of over land, stifling demand for a link to the U.S. continental highway system and limiting access to public lands.


"I doubt that Friends of Earth actually does support such things, but the news release certainly leads one to conclude they do," Barton wrote. "I hope that you were better informed about the other 26 projects that you have maligned. The millions of people that will benefit from these projects deserve better treatment."


There are four alternative routes under study by Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities for the Juneau Access project, which is updating the 1997 draft environmental impact statement. Proceeding with a project to relieve public and freight transportation hurdles the Juneau was overwhelmingly favored by residents in the area following surveys in 2003. Residents differ on the alternatives, which involve road construction and increased use of ferries.


The ultimate goal of the project is to provide better mobility between the towns of Skagway, Haines, Juneau, Canada's Klondike Highway, and then on to the Continental U.S.


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