Boston's Long Island. (Doc Searls/Flickr)
QUINCY (WBZ-AM) -- Three years after the old one was demolished, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh has a plan for constructing a new bridge to Long Island--but Quincy Mayor Thomas Koch wants a ferry to the island, not a bridge, and says his city has been left out of the decision-making.
"Quite frankly, I think we've been disrespected," Mayor Koch told WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Carl Stevens.
The old bridge was closed in 2014 for public safety reasons and taken down in 2015, closing off access to what was then the largest homeless shelter in the city.
Quincy residents, tired of the traffic through residential neighborhoods leading to the bridge, were happy to see it go.
But a battle has been brewing between the two cities since Walsh announced his plans to rebuild the bridge to the Boston Harbor island--and to establish a drug treatment center there--in his 2018 inauguration address.
"I got a courtesy call from the Mayor before he announced it at his inauguration, and I like Marty Walsh personally, he's a very good guy, I really like Marty," Koch said. "But if they were really considerate of Quincy, would they have not had a couple of meetings with us, and at least talk about the ferry issue, and prove to us why the ferry issue doesn't work?"
A ferry won't work, Walsh's office says, for several reasons. For one, the proposed facility would see too many staff members, patients, food and supply deliveries, and more coming to and fro to rely solely on boat service. Then, there's the fact that ferry service is at the mercy of the weather, and those relying on the facility for treatment would need a method of transportation that wouldn't shut down in a storm.
But Koch wants Boston to pursue other options, because he feels his city shouldn't be responsible for dealing with Boston's traffic.
"This has been just typical Boston," Koch said. "It's typical Boston. They really don't care about the people of Quincy ... Boston has separate rules from other cities and towns, because Boston does what Boston wants to do."
Koch moved to block the bridge project by banning construction vehicles from the streets leading to the bridge site. Walsh, in turn, proposed floating the bridge parts to Long Island, avoiding disrupting Quincy's residential communities, but Koch said the problem is the bridge itself, not just messy construction.
He points out the enormous price of the bridge as well.
"Again, I respect Marty and he's a good guy," Koch said. "But I think, boy, if I had that kind of money to play with, I'd be doing an awful lot more in the schools of Boston, which need some help."
As for the possibility the disagreement could to go litigation in the future, Koch said "everything is on the table."
"I don't know how much clearer I can make it," Koch said. "I gotta fight for my community."
WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Carl Stevens reports