Ketchikan assembly rejects advisory vote on bridges to airport

Posted: Sunday, January 27, 2002

The Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly has rejected a proposed advisory vote on a plan to build bridges to the island that holds the community's airport.

Assembly members voted 5-2 to reject an advisory vote on the $175 million proposal for bridges from Ketchikan to Pennock Island and from Pennock Island to Gravina Island, the site of the airport.

State officials recommended the bridges as the best way to improve access to the airport. Currently, travelers between Ketchikan and its airport take a shuttle ferry.

Some residents called for an advisory vote and said the magnitude of the project calls for more public testimony.

"As big as this project is, the borough should welcome the public input of a vote, although not too soon," said Elmer Makua of the Tongass Conservation Society.

"It seems to me there's been a concerted effort to leave the average guy out," said Charlie Arteaga, who favored a public vote, but not the bridges, a project he described as considerable folly.

Others told the assembly no vote is necessary.

"I made my vote when I voted for the assembly," said Eric Tyson. "I'm absolutely for a bridge."

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