Editorial: Divert funds for Kake Road Project

Since the Department of Transportation continues to push ahead on the Kake-Petersburg Road, it’s appropriate that the Borough Assembly takes action to divert funds from the project. Nothing kills a road project quicker than taking the money off the table.

Repeatedly, citizens from Kupreanof, Kake and Petersburg have told Transportation officials the road is a bad idea. It’s not needed, it’s not cost effective and it needs to go away.

Kake needs lower cost electricity and a road is not needed to address their power needs.

Since as early as January 1974, engineer Warren E. Wild of the State Department of Highways told the Petersburg Chamber of Commerce the State and the U.S. Forest Service were conferring on the feasibility of a 40-mile road that would connect the two communities.

If the road was necessary and reasonable it seems like the State of Alaska, the U.S. Forest Service and Federal Highway Administration could have worked together to create the Kake-Petersburg road sometime within the last 42 years.

As state services continue to be cut, we know the Dept. of Transportation will not be able to plow and maintain the road connection to Kake in the foreseeable future.

Shopping habits have changed. Most Kake residents now travel to Sitka or Juneau for both shopping and medical care. They rarely shop in Petersburg anymore.

Both Kake and Petersburg residents do make extensive use of Kupreanof Island logging roads for hunting, but the only thing the proposed Kake road would accomplish is to expand hunting opportunities for hunters from both communities.

It would be nice if the funds could be retained for use in our district, but more than likely both State and Federal funds come with restrictions on their use.

The Petersburg Assembly is on the right track to reallocate funds for this ill-fated project.


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