Ketchikan's most talked bridge that may never be, is a lot closer to never being today.
The New York Times has a story on the much discussed "bridge to nowhere", a structure that was to link the Ketchikan airport with the city at a cost of near 400 million dollars.
The Gravina Island bridge project became one of the poster children for federal spending run amok, as critics expressed concern at the plan to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on a bridge to an airport to serve a population of less than 15,000 dollars, it was described by many as pork barrelling at its worst.
It had been in the planning stages for the last thirty years, as state and federal politicians navigated the murky waters of the earmarks process through Congress. Last week, the state's Republican Governor Sarah Polin, all but killed off the plan to bridge the gap between the two islands.
“We will continue to look for options for Ketchikan to allow better access to the island,” Ms. Palin said. “The concentration is not going to be on a $400 million bridge.”
Needless to say, in some quarters of Ketchikan there is disappointment that the grand structure seems destined for the dreams that never were file.
Mayor Joe Williams of Ketchikan Gateway Borough, recounted the years of controversy over the project and how his city had been the target of much derision locally and internationally over their desires for a fixed link, and now; “We have nothing to show for it.”
The Governor says that the federal monies that were to go to the bridge will now be redistributed around the state for a number of projects, including an improvement to the ferry service to the Ketchikan airport.
The governor also urged Alaskans not to dwell on the bridge, a little bit of wishful thinking we would suspect.
Somehow, we don't believe that she will get her wish, while it's chances of being built now seem remote at best, the legend of the Bridge to nowhere will not doubt be part of Alaska's political scene for a number of years to come.
Ketchikan's Sit News had a couple of stories as well as letters posted on its website today, giving some local input to the controversial issue.