By Bonna Booth
February 04, 2008
This road at present is only a pioneer trail and the problem of connecting the road at the head of Chester Bay has not yet been resolved.
The cost to the State to complete
this road can only be estimated, however, talking to a road building
contractor their estimates would use a figure of about $1 Million
dollars per mile. This would be a good conservative rule of thumb:
18 Miles of road would put a price tag on this road to complete
at $18 Million dollars. This is where the road is capped, black
topped, guard rails and signs up. This figure does not including
the power line and phone connection needed to home port the ferry
Lituya at the end of this road. Now with these figures the road
is estimated with the figure of $124 Million dollars. Keep in
mind that this is a very conservative figure because of the extensive
issues in connecting this road at the head of the Chester Bay.
Now to add the cost for environmental
impact studies for the new ferry and the removal, dismantling
of the present terminal; by the way the present terminal is a
fairly new terminal. I am not a civil engineer so my estimates
can be only that of a layman but the figures I have been told
by the people who have done similar projects and figures published
in the Ketchikan Daily News.
Now put this in to perspective:
this price tag is for moving one terminal serving one community
and for one ferry.
This seven day service would benefit the community in many ways as well as continue to provide a success to AMHS. There are people in Metlakatla that use the service to commute to work in Ketchikan and other parts of the State. I know at least three people that commute to work on the Lituya. The extra runs would provide for better work opportunities for these people. Currently the Lituya does not sail on Tuesday or Wednesday. Seven day service would possibly open up far more opportunities for more people to get work in Ketchikan while still maintaining a residence in Metlakatla. This service has not only served Metlakatla but the people who live in Ketchikan. Given the estimates of the Visitors Borough statistics of how much people spend off AMHS vessels that I have read in the Ketchikan Daily News would be a conservative figure to say that people who use the Lituya on average spend $300 dollars in a Ketchikan visit. This is the money they spend on hotels, food, restaurants, Stores, buying cars, and Doctors visits and this totals in the millions. Serving an average of 28,000 people in a year means 14,000 people visit Ketchikan at $300 dollars per person this is about $4.2 million dollars spent in Ketchikan. Couple extra days would serve both communities better by a seven day service, and again I believe without or little cost to the state.
However while looking at how
much the state is wanting to spend on new terminals and building
a road for the sole purpose of moving a terminal, the extra cost
now seems to pale in comparison. Further more the added run to
Sitka, as I have been told, would cost the state $10 thousand
dollars per day to provide that service with the fast ferry Fairweather
burning 600 gallons an hour. If the Lituya makes AMHS money then
it does not seem to fit what we have been told about the cost
and AMHS not being able to afford the very best run in all SE
Alaska that really cost the State nothing especially when compared
to the Sitka run. Even if it did not cost the state any more
to run these extra runs why would the state want to move away
from making a very good service that much better?
Received February 04, 2008 - Published February 04, 2008
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