by Charlotte Glover
June 30, 2004
Regarding the bridge over Gravina, I have always thought it was an erroneous argument that lack of access is hindering development. Twice hourly ferry service hardly defines a lack of access. Plenty of communities in Washington State manage to grow and change just fine with ferry service- Vashon, Bainbridge, the San Juan Islands, come to mind. Those areas have some of the most desirable real estate in the world despite some serious travel and economic challenges.
It is also a well-known fact in real estate that no one wants to live near an airport. Historically, those areas are the last to be developed and are considered undesirable places to live. How is a bridge going to change that? I have yet to hear an argument that convinces me we would all be building homes on Gravina if we could just drive over. What I see is that a handful of private landowners want public money to develop their land so they can sell it at a big profit. The question remains in my mind- sell it to whom and for what purpose? Living next to a sawmill or a clearcut is not my idea of paradise.
Keep in mind, too, that the bridge is no guarantee of any long -term development. Yes, it would pump some short- term money and jobs into our town, but I believe our community would find it an economic burden in the long run- I loved the comment about the cost of painting the Golden Gate bridge. Furthermore, it might decrease our chances of getting money for other projects. Case in point- our roads are the worst I have ever seen and they will not get fixed as long as the Third Ave. bypass is sucking up all the DOT money. If the Feds give us a pile of money for the bridge, you can be sure that will be used as an excuse not to give our community another dime during the lengthy construction time, no matter what the need.
There is no free ride.
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