By Doug Barry
July 18, 2005
It's been interesting to watch the bridge controversy unfold over the past few years. I hate to see Ketchikan get the bad pork barrel spending press but unfortunately it's inevitable and, quite frankly, often seems justified.
Maybe I just don't get what the big need is for the bridge, other than possibly creating construction jobs. Given my understanding of past and present Ketchikan traffic, it seems odd that citizens would prefer taking the time to drive through downtown and south along Tongass Highway, crossing over Pennock and then, for most residents, backtracking north along Gravina to the airport. My experience is that the ferry is still fairly efficient for getting across the narrows. If development of Gravina Island for industrial and residential is the ultimate goal, then maybe a bridge MIGHT make sense...but then again, wouldn't a bigger car ferry be a lot easier and considerably less expensive? I think tax dollars could be more productively spent on Ketchikan's economic development. Then again, maybe there's a pro-bridge perspective I haven't read about yet that tidily sums up the need.
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