Panel may lower priority for Anchorage's coastal trail

Posted: Sunday, March 23, 2003

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- The committee that decides transportation priorities for Anchorage served notice Thursday it may bump the proposed extension of the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail from near the top of the trail-building list to a far lower ranking.

Now No. 3, the southern Coastal Trail might get moved to No. 11 or 12.

Mayor George Wuerch, one of five members of the AMATS Committee, proposed the change, saying several neighborhood trails should come first.

The committee consists of the mayor, two Anchorage Assembly members and the state commissioners of transportation and environmental conservation. It directs spending for federally funded transportation projects from Eklutna to Potter Marsh.

At Wuerch's urging, the committee on Thursday voted 4-1 to add a footnote to its trails listings, noting that it will consider the lower ranking for the Coastal Trail.

AMATS member and Anchorage Assemblyman Doug Van Etten objected. Among other reasons, he said, the public had not been given a chance to discuss the decision or comment on it.

The Tony Knowles Coastal Trail currently runs from downtown to Kincaid Park, about 11 miles. The extension would take it 13 miles further south, to Potter Marsh.

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