By Charlotte Glover
May 28, 2005
I'm loving the conversation about the bridge because I think the whole community needs to be involved in this very big decision about our future. I am not against having a bridge to the airport, but I think the current proposed design is ridiculous and panders to the very narrow interests of the cruise ship companies rather than to what would be best for our citizens and the taxpayers. Is there really a reason a cruise ship can't travel on the backside of Gravina? Also, not a single person has been able to explain to me what is hindering development on Gravina now. Lack of access, everyone says. I'm sorry, but ferry service several times an hour does not sound remote to me. I've been fortunate enough to spend time in several island communities in the Pacific Northwest this past year, such as Vashon, Bainbridge, and the San Juans, and they would all be thrilled to have the amount of "access" that Gravina has now. Bridge, or no bridge, there is no reason that Gravina cannot develop except that there is no one willing to put up the money. A bridge sounds great, but then what? Who builds the roads and water systems, puts in lights and sidewalks? There simply isn't the population or the interest at this time to "develop" Gravina and a boatload of money from the Feds for a bridge won't magically make that happen.
Also, as I mentioned in a letter earlier this year, I would really like for our community to know more about the expected yearly maintenance of the proposed bridges and who or what is going to pay those ongoing costs. Those big structures are not cheap to maintain and usually require a crew of people the year round.
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