By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor
The fall is a popular time for government officials to pursue feedback from constituents. As is the case in Alaska where public input is being sought on the best ways of moving people in and around communities in the southeastern portion of the state.
Officials say changes in the region need to be addressed because of projected declines in population and oil production. As a result, fewer dollars are anticipated for the region’s transportation network.
In an effort to better manage revenues, a total of six options proposed by the state Department of Transportation and Public Facilities on its Southeast Alaska Transportation Plan will be presented and discussed in public meetings around the region during the next month.
The plan offers a framework to improve transportation connections linking communities within the region. It looks at the region’s network of roads, ferries and airports, and at the operating and maintenance costs of the network.
Among the alternatives to be addressed are maintaining the existing system, maximizing the use of existing roads while discontinuing ferry service to Bellingham and across the Gulf of Alaska, and taking no action.
There are 12 public meetings remaining that will explain the preliminary alternatives and answer questions. Comments can be submitted online through Nov. 4.
Once the meeting process wraps up, ADOTP&F will issue a draft plan and conduct another series of public meetings as early as spring 2012. The final plan for transportation in Southeast Alaska also is expected next year.
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