Saturday, November 12, 2005

Froth Slosh B'Gosh visits Ketchikan -- a porker of a project it seems

Froth Slosh B'Gosh
I've ranted in the past on government boondoggles, one of which is a project in Alaska to build a 315 million dollar bridge to an uninhabited island in Alaska. Imagine my surprise to learn that the island (which may or may not be uninhabited) is home to a freakin' airport!! People get to and fro via a ferry to Ketchikan, AK.

This requires some reevaluation! So I Googled up Ketchikan.

Here's what I learned:

1: There are no roads leading to Ketchikan. Access is by air or sea.
2: The town has a population of roughly 8,000.
3: Total area is roughly 3.4 square miles.
4: Dividing 315 million by 8000 works out to $39,875 per resident.
5: 19,001 people used the airport to fly in or out in 2004, which works out to $16,578 per takeoff/departure.
7: The proposed road/bridge connection is 7 miles long.

Further Googling shows the airport ferry leaves every fifteen minutes, is a five minute ride, and costs about the same as airport parking in many major US cities.

What I could not find out: Percentage of people in Ketchikan who own cars. It is my guess that the number of people owning cars there is relatively low, given the small area, and the lack of a road to the 'outside.'

Let's say the speed limit on the proposed highway is 60 miles an hour. That means the highway cuts 8 minutes off the commute (and that assumes instant acceleration/deceleration, and an average ferry/wait/ trip of 15 minutes. If you catch the ferry at the instant of departure, the ferry is faster). People without cars would still rely on shuttle/bus/ferry schedules.

The question is, would you pay close to $39,000, or $16,500 to save eight minutes? Is opening the island the airport sits on to further development a good, or a bad idea?

But it does seem a cool place to live!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi, if you are looking for msn mapquest, this site does a nice job of sorting through all of the choices. msn mapquest