This letter is in response to Steve Smeltzer's letter in Tuesday's Empire. He is correct about the ferry used to cross the narrows in Ketchikan, and personally I have taken that ferry on a daily basis for work and honestly it isn't that difficult to walk up and down the ramp. But the bridge is not simply about eliminating the airport ferry. It is about flat, useable land.
Being an expert on Alaska I am sure Steve knows that Ketchikan is built on the side of a mountain, much like Juneau. But unlike Juneau there is little flat land available nearby, that's the reason the airport was put on Gravina Island in the first place, and that is why we need a bridge, so we can develop the economy of Ketchikan.
In his letter Steve also mentioned that tourism is the cash cow for Southeast. But back in the '90s I remember mills being shut down in not only Ketchikan, but in Wrangell and Sitka. These mills were the driving force for the economy in Southeast Alaska, at least for the communities other than Juneau. But when they were getting closed one by one where was Juneau?
Juneau has always had a "holier than thou" mentality when it comes to other towns in Southeast. There has always been a stable economy here because of the government. But now you are concerned about a bridge to useable flat land in Ketchikan and are trying to stop it.
It is just absolutely amazing that a Juneau resident is trying to stall something that may jump-start the economy for another town in Southeast.
Like all Alaskans, I have been following the push for moving of the capital up to Anchorage. And now because of people like you, Steve, I wholeheartedly support moving it. I want you to feel what I and the rest of Southeast have felt for the last 10 years, and then maybe you would support building a bridge, too.
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