I am entering my 70th Alaska winter. I was born and raised in Anchorage. Winters used to be colder when I was young, often reaching 30 below zero at night. I moved to Juneau as a teenager and moved back to Anchorage in the winter of 1990. Since my return, the temperature has not even reached minus 20. Weather patterns are clearly changing.
Winter storms in Juneau often bring one to three feet of wet snow. Winter in Anchorage is becoming more like Juneau. Snowfalls are larger, wetter, and more frequent than what I saw as a kid. Last winter’s “snowpocalypse” is not the outlier that our elected leaders would have you believe. It is the new normal.
Many of our political leaders minimize climate change because Alaska’s largest export — oil — is a major contributor to the warmer climate. Since our elected leaders won’t promote policies that slow or stop “global warming,” they must deal with the changes that they help enable.
Mayor Dave Bronson said that he added $1.5 million to the snow removal budget. I hope that will be enough to avoid the terrible and inadequate maintenance we suffered through the last two winters. But many readers may not be aware that almost all of the major roads, streets, and highways in Anchorage are maintained by the state of Alaska.
As of Monday, Nov. 13, a week after the first serious snowfall, our major thoroughfares seem untouched by a state plow. Is it because Gov. Mike Dunleavy and his supporters in the Legislature seem to believe that it is more important to cut Alaska’s budget than it is to get the job done right? If you believe, like I do, that the state should do a better job plowing Anchorage’s roads, then join me in contacting our legislators and the governor to demand it.
— John A. Farleigh
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