SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


The Piers to Nowhere
By Samuel Bergeron


November 07, 2006
Tuesday AM

When outgoing, Governor Frank Murkowski decided to encumber the next administration with an under-funded mega project like the Gravina Bridge, we lose the opportunity to fund other, more needed and urgent projects like the Swan lake Tyee Lake Electrical Intertie.

With no disrespect to those who were in attendance at Governor Frank Murkowski's community meeting on the bridge, they did not speak for me and other leaders in the community who where not in attendance. I believe, as do others, that the next large project that must be completed is the half-done electrical intertie that would provide long-range, affordable power that would attract future businesses and jobs. The Intertie is the community's next need as it will provide electricity at a cost rate and availability that would allow us to heat our homes and businesses for about half of what it costs today with oil. As time goes on and oil gets harder to get and more expensive, what could be a higher priority to Ketchikan than an unlimited and low-priced source of energy to run our homes and economy in perpetuity?

The funding ability of the State is dramatically hampered by the Trans-Alaska oil pipeline maintenance woes and the drop in crude oil prices. We will not get a completed bridge to Gravina, funding for Schoenbar cost over-runs, a PERS/TERS fix, completion of the Swan lake Tyee lake electrical intertie and all the other needs and wants we have. Those of you who would argue those projects come from different pots of money and we re talking about transportation money and Capital project money as well as other dollars, should note that in a declining funding environment or not, the legislature would not fund Ketchikan at the level that would allow us to complete those projects simultaneously. We could be stuck with a half done bridge project with a completed design and a couple of bridge piers in-place and have permanent monument to a lack of common sense.

Instead of starting another huge under-funded project like the Gravina Bridge, don't you think we should complete another huge, under-funded, half done project like the Swan lake Tyee Lake Electrical Intertie first? I do.

I would hope that outgoing Governor Frank Murkowski would not kill the chance of a completed Intertie and funding for Schoenbar and the like by usurping the best interests of the community to build a bridge, that by all accounts is too expensive to build and is not the top priority for Ketchikan. We have limited dollars available to do the things we want to do and we should let the next administration address these vitally important issues, not someone who is on there way out of office.

Samuel Bergeron
Ketchikan, AK

Received November 05, 2006 - Published November 07, 2006

About: " I'm a life-long Alaskan who pays enough attention to what the knuckle-heads in office are doing to vent just a little. I'm a voter and some-time political candidate."



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