Are Gravina bridge backers willing to use general fund money?

Posted: Monday, July 30, 2007

When sane public officials do the math, there's a greater probability monkeys will fly across Tongass Narrows before Ketchikan residents can drive across it. If Alaskans want to update the price tag on the Gravina Island Bridge, they need look no further than the newly opened Tacoma Narrows Bridge. It cost $849 million. It's shorter and 13 feet lower than the bridge-highway-bridge Gravina Island F1 alternative, and comparable to the G3 alternative.

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The one-way Tacoma Narrows Bridge will carry an average of 40,000 cars a day. That's $58 per car during the first year, or 58 cents over its 100 year life span. How many cars would a Gravina Island Bridge carry per day in the dead of winter? Forty? Do the math on that.

Even the most preposterous capital project in the world makes sense when only 2/10 of 1 percent of the money spent is your money, and the rest is hardworking Lower 48 taxpayer's money. The $27.5 million 3.2-mile Gravina Island two-lane dead-end dirt road now under construction is an excellent example. If Ketchikan can persuade Alaskans to pull $800 million out of their permanent fund or spend general fund money to build the Gravina Island bridge, I'll help build it.

D. K. "Dan" Lilja

San Diego

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