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Capital move, gas line could work together to benefit state

Posted: Wednesday, December 15, 2004

May this relate to the capital move, versus filling a bottomless pit, as common sense will varify.

With the eventual gas line to the Mat-Su and Southcentral, an open direct route near Fairbanks, to cross the terrain at Nenana, down the rail-higway would seem logical. Down the upper Matanuska canyon walls and revines would scare a mountain goat. Neither route needs studying.

The only ideal location move would be west of the Clear radar site, between the Kentishna and Nenana rivers, with a front door view of Mount McKinley as a free bonus. With the expanse of abundant glacier rock flat-beds, it would be possible to lay out a four-directional international airport in half the time and cost, with a fleet of cat-skinners, alone. Use railway steel to build 40-by-60-foot rigid drags that would do the job in half the time as a grader. Then, bring on the "blue-toppers."

With the Mackenzie Point dock, ocean-barge service could land all building materials and equipment, with a short rail haul to a storage area with the use of the Clear site rail siding.

The pros and cons of a capital move would profoundly emphasize Alaska's need for affordable energy (it's been sitting stone-dead for three decades under our north slope natural gas). This would punctuate barging energy into Juneau at today's cost for only God alone knows how long, versus more than 9 percent efficiency or door-step gas, should once the gasoline coordinate with the common sense of future-use location, itself. With the capital location as top billing, the dock system at Nenana would accommodate barging liquid or compressed gas to the Yukon and our energy-starved West Coast. The plant at Clear and Healy could be converted.

I want to thank the move group in Soldotna for their Alaska spirit. May your years be joyous and many. And you, too.

Hal Engelstad



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