NEWS: The Alaska House of Representatives Supports Efforts to Build a Life-Saving Road to Connect King Cove and Cold Bay

House Majority Coalition

House Joint Resolution 6 is the First Piece of Legislation Approved This Year by the Alaska House

February 1, 2017

JUNEAU – Earlier today, the Alaska House of Representatives unanimously approved House Joint Resolution 6 expressing support for Congressional efforts to authorize construction of a life-saving road between the Southwest Alaska communities of King Cove and Cold Bay.  The resolution is sponsored by Speaker of the House Bryce Edgmon from Dillingham, who represents the communities in the Alaska Legislature.

“King Cove residents have been fighting for over 30 years to get approval for a road to the all-weather airport in Cold Bay and I am happy to once again take up their cause,” said Speaker Edgmon.  “My colleagues and I don’t want to see any more loss of life because King Cove residents can’t get access to medical facilities in Anchorage via the Cold Bay airport.  We are committed to public safety in every city, borough, and village in Alaska and it seems only fitting that this resolution is the first piece of legislation to pass the House this year.”

The proposed one-lane gravel road to connect King Cove and Cold Bay would cross the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge, which requires approval by Congress and the President of the United States.  In the last 30 years, 11 people have died during flights into or out of King Cove, which only has a small weather-dependent airport.  The all-weather airport in Cold Bay is open year round and offers 24 hours a day access for medivacs to medical facilities in Anchorage.

“As an environmentalist, I understand the importance of the habitat in the Izembek Wildlife Refuge but the health and well-being of Alaskans is infinitely more important, which is why I voted for the King Cove Road resolution,” said Rep. Geran Tarr (D-Anchorage), who carried Speaker Edgmon’s resolution on the floor of the Alaska House of Representatives today.  “King Cove residents have been trying to get this road built for decades and every effort has been unsuccessful.  However, I am hopeful a renewed national commitment to public safety will result in the political will to finally build this environmentally friendly, 12 mile road that will save lives.”

The existing King Cove airport is often made inaccessible by bad weather, which requires residents to travel by boat to the airport in Cold Bay for emergency medivacs.  A road connecting the two communities would make it easier and safer for King Cove residents to access life-saving medical facilities in Anchorage.

House Joint Resolution 6 passed the Alaska House of Representatives today by a vote of 39-0 and will now be sent to the Alaska Senate for consideration. 

For more information, please contact Alaska House Majority Coalition Press Secretary Mike Mason at (907) 444-0889.


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