No bridge to Gravina

Posted: Sunday, November 27, 2005

Having been a resident of Ketchikan for 45 years or so, I have been fighting against the bridge for the last 25 years. The statement, "Ketchikan is the only airport you can't drive to," is a misnomer. You can drive to it, you just have to take a five-minute ferry ride. It really comes down to laziness. People are so used to jumping in the car and going someplace. Granted, Gravina needs to be developed, but what's wrong with developing it now? You have had 20 years or so to build on Gravina, and you don't need a bridge to take supplies across the bay. There are two perfectly good car ferries to take building material and equipment across. And at a damn sight cheaper rate than building a multimillion-dollar bridge.

This again is laziness. Why has Ketchikan (rather the Ketchikan Chamber of Crimes) been whining about a bridge for the last 20 years, when they could have been platting and developing the land? Also, who wants to build in the landing path of an airport anyway?

I live in Juneau now and really could care less about what they do in Ketchikan anymore. My point is: Quit whining and begging and just start developing. Or does the Ketchikan Gateway Borough have a stranglehold over development? After all, they have been collecting taxes on all private owned lands on Gravina for quite a few years. It's probably time to kick out the present administration and get people on the borough, who have some common sense and at least a few more brains than the present bunch of idiots. Remember, this is the same borough who lent money to Gateway Forest Products to build a veneer plant (to the tune of over $13 Million). Then the company went bankrupt, leaving the Gateway Borough holding the bag. This was, I believe, money given by the U.S. to help loggers and pulp mill workers to get education and find other jobs - jobs that were basically taken away by the environmentalists. But don't get me started on that one.

I spent two weeks down below recently, and the several people I talked to about the bridges were not only incredulous, but they couldn't believe we would waste that much money on bridges to nowhere. Ugly words like "pork barrel" were thrown about. Thanks to our arrogant legislators, and yes, the slanted media coverage, folks in the other states have lost credibility with Alaska.

But this is just my opinion.

Steve Smeltzer

Juneau



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