On the other side, supporting the road, were the Department of Transportation, that ignored all the public comment over a several year process to continue to plan for a road. DOWL Engineering that had the contract for the citizen participation process. And apparently lots of builders and developers who were big supporters of former Mayor Sullivan who requested the state keep the road and got it along with a $20 million allocation into the state budget at the last minute several years ago. Providence Hospital, the University of Alaska Anchorage, and Alaska Pacific University in meetings closed to the public gave support, though we aren't sure how strong it was and what incentives they were given.
Even though the state state budget was facing drastic cuts for school and many other essential services due to falling oil revenues, the state kept this project that was opposed overwhelmingly by people in the neighborhood.
Well, it turns out that what one mayor gives, another mayor can take away. Still fairly new Anchorage mayor Ethan Berkowitz last week pulled the city's support of the road. The state, saying that without the local support, would cut the project.
|Along Northern Lights very near where the road would have gone|
as well as preserving water that would otherwise end up in sewers and go out to see. It quiets the region and provides refuse for moose and other animals and birds. Think I exaggerate?
Read E.O. Wilson's The Future of Life.
I asked three of last April's mayoral candidates whether they would stop the road if elected. Candidate Berkowitz gave the strongest indication that he would.
I thank him for keeping this campaign promise. This is a big deal for the future of Alaska.
The people who want to connect every gap in every road, the people who make money from cutting trees and building things where they were and the politicians they support will be back on this sooner or later. But for now, we're ok. A big victory in the many battles for preventing Anchorage from looking like every other overdeveloped urban center and for preserving the reason that many of us live here.