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Ketchikan's Bridge?
By Robert McRoberts


December 10, 2005

For many years we have been debating this bridge and I have voiced my views and concerns more than most. I voted for using borough property on which to build the bridge - at the time it seemed like a good idea. But the more I look at this, the more I see flaws. At first we did not know the cost of the options. And we really do not know now. We are just guessing. Surely the costs are going to increase even more as has every project that has been done lately. Thirty years ago building the bridge would have been the right thing. Today many of us that have grown up here are use to the fact that we have to take a ferry to the airport.  With the proper ferries, transportation would totally improve and reduce the hassles we face today. It is my opinion that no one wanted to improve on the ferry service so we could get a bridge by making the ferry service a complete inconvenience.
As for me I, have always loved the view of Gravina Island. From all locations, especially from the top of Deer Mountain. From there it looks like the bridge will land on a fault line, but you must have seen that. I really do not want to see us butcher up the island. Well I can handle a little, after all that's how I make my keep.

I have seen the zoning maps hanging on the wall at the borough's office - you did lots of work. But that work can still all be done with a better more efficient ferry system. With more traffic keeping the ferries loaded, that should reduce the rate to $5.00 a vehicle... especially if it were an electric ferry. A ferry that you could drive a loaded log truck on and off easier is needed. The boats that we are presently using are not designed for this.
Land is only valuable if someone wants it. I think our governor is supporting this bridge for two reasons. He has many 'good old boys' friends here plus the fact that it's time to dump his property on that island.

I will never believe that this bridge is going to help Ketchikan's economy better than a road out would. We need to keep pushing for a road out. I have been building roads and such on this island for 25 years now. I have sat in a excavator digging over 150 miles of road on this island alone. Very little of that road are we able to get to. We have so many nice beautiful spots we could utilize if we get going on a direction out of town as well as make the maintenance and construction of the intertie so much cheaper which would equal less rate increases. Swan Lake could have a fuel truck deliver fuel without having a barge and tug. Wonder how much we pay a gallon there? The Coast Guard Station at Shoal Cove and Neets Bay all would be able to reduce operating cost. Cape Fox has lots of land that nothing is going to happen on for a another 100 years. Let's get that on the tax roles. Gorge Inlet is a great harbor, Stevedoring has been using it for years.
Today we have so many resources sitting around us. I can not see why they are not being developed. The rest of the country needs electricity we have plenty of water for hydro. Why not a water pipe line right a long side a gas line? Recreation is a big deal. We pay 200 bucks to go to Prince of Wales to get one buck. To catch a few trout it takes a lot of effort and expense to fly our boat over. Camping is really fun at Ward Lake; however, we just can not get a spot in the summer. We get so many tourists that we can not handle the one we get. We could spread them out. Would it not be nice if we could load them onto one bus that could stop at Herring Cove, do the Rain Forest thing and the Aquarium and head out south farther, take in George Inlet and go on to Totem Bight and return them from the north or visa versa. White River could get developed and you could live on the South or North and not have to go through town to go to work. I am not saying we need to go all that way, but we just need to get it started so we who live here can enjoy what we have too. Only making it easier with each step. Sure we could all go out in our nice boats, but even today it's expensive and when you get there, there is some one already there.
Connecting all these roads could be done with local contractors and their crews. Building the new ferries can be done at the shipyard. Tourist would come to town and stay for awhile. We could enjoy more for less. When the governor came to town to encourage our youth to become construction workers, he for got to tell them that the reason there are not many left in the state is that if you do not work on Davis Bacon jobs all year you can not afford to live here. I think the price of steal will not allow us to build a railroad. Plus then you are depending on someone else to get us out of town. Two years ago we drove around the loop in Yellowstone. What beauty! Why not border a monument and make it easier for all to enjoy. I really think we all need to speak out about this. If we go for the bridge we may never get any more monies to finish the road that was started many years before the bridge.
This is just my opinion on spending this money for the betterment of our state. Now if we could only stop round log exportation, and have a tax on out-of-state fishermen and boats and others that come from somewhere else just to take our money out of state. Let's take it in steps. Hope I gave some good thoughts.
Robert McRoberts
Ketchikan AK - USA



Robert McRoberts is the owner of a local construction company with 25 years experience building roads on Revilla.



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