Will Speed Road, Ferry Travel
August 14, 2004
"Transportation is the lifeblood of a region, and in Southeast Alaska, transportation means roads and ferries," the Governor said. "Our plan uses the right mix of transportation links to give Alaskans access to jobs and economic opportunities, access to neighboring communities, and access to the world at large."
The Southeast Alaska Transportation Plan (SATP) calls for the state to extend the region's existing highway system, deploy new fast ferries to cover road gaps of 70 miles or more, and retire obsolete and mainline feeder ferries, the Governor said. The goal is to develop a surface transportation system that puts every community within one-day's travel of other major regional communities.
To provide for transportation needs over the next 20 years, the plan also identifies 34 essential road and utility corridors the state should reserve for future roads. Most notably, the plan calls for construction by 2010 of a road linking Juneau to Skagway, with frequent ferry service to Haines and a new ferry terminal near the Katzehin River.
The plan also calls on the state to:
The SATP, representing the normal five-year update of the region's transportation plan, covers transportation projects out to 2025. While the department estimates the total scope of the work will cost an estimated $1.8 billion, more than $1.3 billion of that would come from federal earmarks, including $240 million for two new mainline ferries and approximately $500 million for the road connection from the continental road system to Ketchikan and Wrangell via the Bradfield Canal corridor.
"For too many years,
Southeast Alaskans have needed road-building, but got only roadblocks,"
Murkowski said. "This ambitious but achievable plan of action
will help fulfill my vision of building a safe, reliable and
efficient transportation system that will improve the quality
of life for residents, and enhance the economic opportunities
and stability of the region."