Lake Havasu City’s elusive second bridge to the Island appears to have escaped our grasp again. A legislative bill by State Rep. Leo Biasiucci would have provided $22 million from the general fund to finally construct a second bridge spanning the Bridgewater Channel.
Unfortunately, the bridge bill was held in the House Appropriations Committee chaired by Rep. Regina Cobb.
Both Biasiucci and Cobb seem to think there’s some hope in resurrecting the funding as part of the general budget talks. It’s definitely something of a long shot, but we appreciate the optimism. It’s important to note that the federal government’s bright focus on infrastructure projects could add an important boost to the bridge’s chances of securing funding.
We’ve known for decades that Lake Havasu City residents need additional ways to get on and off the Island. It’s even more obvious these days, with surging tourism and more development on the Island than ever before.
It can be tricky to get state money for anything other than state highways. Cobb reminds us that local projects such as the bridge request can be difficult to get into the budget.
This is where our legislative leaders need to show off their salesmanship skills.
We can make the case that it’s not a local project at all. Yes, a second bridge would serve local interests, but state legislators should remember that the London Bridge, and Lake Havasu in general, have helped make this area among the state’s top tourism destinations. The visitors who come here pump millions into state coffers. State funding for a second bridge is an appropriate consideration. If Havasu gets a reputation for traffic congestion, it could eventually discourage those tourists from coming here.
However, even without state or federal funding, Lake Havasu City needs to figure out a way to get that bridge built.
That’s not an easy conversation, but it’s a necessary one. Fortunately, it wouldn’t be Havasu’s first experience in building a bridge.
Five decades ago, a businessman decided to buy a 130-year-old relic from London, ship it half way across the world and rebuild it on the Colorado River. If Lake Havasu City can do that, we can certainly figure out this challenge as well.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the London Bridge’s dedication. We can’t think of a better time to announce a new one.
— Today’s News-Herald