Expanded Ferries Would Reach South Bay
Jan. 11 - KGO (KGO) -- Governor Schwarzenegger called for developing an emergency water transit system in the Bay Area during his State of the State address. That plan includes developing a major terminal in Redwood City.
A Bay Area Council report says a major earthquake would shut down nearly 2,000 roads, and we'll have to depend on ferries to transport thousands of injured and homeless people, rescue workers, and supplies.
Jim Wunderman, president and CEO, Bay Area Council: "Our intent is to really ring the Bay with access to ferries."
Jim Wunderman heads up the Bay Area Council, a policy research center that projects all bridges will be damaged -- and currently there aren't even enough ferries to facilitate one out-of-service bridge.
Jim Wunderman, president and CEO, Bay Area Council: "We need to remember Hurricane Katrina and what that did to the Gulf Coast of the United States."
The plan calls for a fleet of 88 new vessels, including hovercraft, assigned to an expanded regular ferry system reaching the South Bay. The port of Redwood City would play a strategic role.
Mike Giari, director, port of Redwood City: "The port of Redwood City is strategically located between two bridges -- the Dumbarton bridge and the San Mateo Bridge."
A Redwood City ferry terminal would be a crucial link, and also serve about 1,400 regular passengers a day -- an economic boon.
Mike Giari, director, port of Redwood City: "Because it would attract more development to the waterfront, both in terms of offices and commercial development."
The plan also calls for 35 temporary mobile piers that can be placed wherever needed. At a total cost of $1.6-billion-dollars, the Water Transit Authority will have to fight for existing funds. But they have two powerful players in their corner.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, (R) California: "Senator Perata, I will work with you on that."
Mike Giari, director, port of Redwood City: "If we move as a region, we can make it happen in a relatively short time."
Time may be running out. The USGS says a major quake has a 29-percent chance of striking the Bay Area in the next 10 years.
The heroics of New York Harbor's ferry fleet during 9/11 convinced policymakers that an emergency water transit system is badly needed in the Bay Area.
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