The bridge is still a bad
By Michael Spence
August 26, 2007
A bad idea promoted by a few highly motivated and perhaps even
well intended people is ultimately still a bad idea.
DOT commissioner Leo Von Sheben could not have made the point
clearer, or to those who most need it clarified, at the recent
Ketchikan Chamber of Commerce luncheon. The bridge to Gravina
has never made any fiscal sense in any objective forum, anywhere.
There is no tax base in Ketchikan to maintain the bridge, let
alone to build it. There are no private investors willing to
carry or even share the burden. The bridge is a concept based
purely and totally on the empty promise that someone else's money
was available to build it. Its advocates were (are) banking
on nothing more than future subsidies from federal, state and
borough treasuries to support it in the future.
Worse yet, the bridge is a threat to its greatest commercial
asset; its natural harbor. The same harbor that allowed steamers
to bring settlers here in the 19th century, cannery and log ships
in the 20th century, and now the present day cruise ships. None
of these ships from any period would fit through the bridge contemplated
over the East channel of Tongass Narrows. Even if the largest
vessels could access the port through the West channel crossing,
it would force a needless constriction of both the waterways
into one very narrow channel. For what purpose?
This very real threat against Ketchikans harbor is balanced against
a bogus promise that Gravina Island has more land for development
than Revillagigedo Island, on which Ketchikan already is built.
Gravina Island is a fraction of the size of Revillagigedo. Admittedly
the roads we have on Revillagigedo Island are poor, but they
could be fixed and extended for a fraction of the cost of a bridge
or the presently underway Gravina Highway project.
It is time for Ketchikan's leadership to formulate a better
reasoned transportation plan that protects Ketchikans most valuable
resources and stimulates private investment, not more subsidized
Received August 23, 2007 -
Published August 26, 2007
About: " Ketchikan resident
over 25 yrs, marine pilot in Southeast Alaska for 30 yrs."
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