"The EIS is completed, and the Governor is expected to make a decision shortly on which of the alternatives identified in the EIS to go forward with."
Members of Juneau's legislative delegation met with Governor Walker and Lieutenant Governor Byron Mallott Monday morning on the Juneau Access Environmental Impact Statement
Representative Cathy Munoz came directly from that meeting to our studios to be on the Action Line program.
"The EIS is completed, and the Governor is expected to make a decision shortly on which of the alternatives identified in the EIS to go forward with," explained Munoz. "It was a very positive meeting; we discussed the benefits of the project and increasing transportation and connectivity in our region. I'm pretty hopeful. The governor had a lot of questions, and he said that he's reviewing all of the comments. We're definitely making progress, and I was encouraged by the meeting."
A court ruling directed that a revised EIS be completed to more fully consider a marine option. Munoz and Juneau Senator Dennis Egan favor the current preferred alternative which includes a road to the Katzehin River and then ferry shuttles from there to Haines and Skagway.
"As you know, we are in the process of completing two smaller ships for the Lynn Canal. One will work the route in northern Lynn Canal from Haines to Skagway, and the second ship - which comes online in 2018 - will work the Haines to Juneau route. That program will greatly improve transportation until a road connection is complete. The idea is to move forward with the road to Katzehin with the shuttles to Haines to complete the project."
Munoz says funding is in place for Juneau Access.
The state money has already been put aside for this project. It's a $450 million project, and the 10% state share is already in the bank, waiting for the project to go forward. 90% of the project will be funded by the federal government, so any new funding for the project is all federal dollars at this point. I think the governor is very interested in the economics of the project, reducing the costs for the individual traveler, better connecting our communities, and also the hundreds of jobs that will ensue once this project gets going."