by Tia Wilhelm
August 23, 2004
Having lived in Baltimore for 5 years, I have visited Ocean City and driven the Chesapeake Bay bridge. Congressman Young may be surprised to hear that some of us like living in Alaska precisely because it doesn't have tacky seaside resort towns like Ocean City. In any case, millions more people in the Baltimore and Washington, DC areas are served by the Chesapeake Bay bridge than will ever live in Ketchikan.
For the Gravina bridge's outrageous cost, there are few persuasive arguments out there for building it. I hardly know where to start in my objections. Better airport access? Is there something wrong with the airport ferry set-up? I've been using it for 30 years and it seems to be as good as ever. Improvements like the covered walkway make it better than it has ever been.
My only hope is that the airport ferry will continue to operate even if the bridge is built so I can get there in 5 minutes by ferry instead of the 35 minute bridge route and buy parking, too.
I'm also concerned about the bankrupt borough being saddled with the costs of maintaining a span only 20 feet shorter than the Golden Gate bridge. Is the state going to take care of it like they do the South Tongass road? I don't look forward to seeing that monstrosity pictured recently in the Daily News. With or without the inevitable rust streaks.
For the 20 million spent on the proposed bridge study, the airport ferry could have operated without passenger or vehicle fees for the next 20 years. Or perhaps the water taxi could operate free of passenger fees for the next 1000 years?
Now is the time for Ketchikanites to write all congress members and Alaska DOT in opposition to the bridge project.
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