"I can understand the frustration of wanting a better way, or an easier system, but I don't think the Knik Arm Bridge is the solution," one person said.
"If we don't do some sort of planning for the future, the city is stuck right where it is today and will be what it is today," said another.
AMATS, Anchorage Metropolitan Area Transportation Solutions, voted last year to delay construction until 2018.
After challenged in a lawsuit, AMATS settled by reversing its decision and again made the project part of the short-range transportation plan.
The debate is whether the project should again be pushed off onto the long-range transportation plan.
"There's a lot of folks here, and we've heard comments that support this project. It's going to be a benefit to the state; it's a benefit to the region; it can be a benefit to Anchorage and the Mat-Su. It's a new connection; it's another connection other than the Glenn Highway to the north. It will improve mobility for people and freight to the north and access into Anchorage from both directions," another person said.
The state Department of Transportation says it's time to move forward now and that shutting down the project would mean money already invested would be lost.
Assembly member Sheila Selkregg warns that the project would cost far more than it's worth and suggested investing that money in other road projects.
"I find it almost laughable that we've got people who've come up and testified tonight who are conservatives and these conservatives are talking about committing to $44 million dollars a year for 37 years to pay off the bridge," Selkregg said.
Mayor Dan Sullivan, who sits on the AMATS committee, isn't convinced there's a reason to move it out of the short-term.
"The bottom line is if it's truly is going to be a privately funded toll-generated structure that doesn't take city money, or state money, or more federal money, then that, to me, seems like a win-win," Sullivan said.
The advisory vote will give feedback to AMATS from the Assembly to help the committee to decide what's next.
"It's time to move this bridge… from the short-term plan to the how-are-you-really-going-to-pay-for-it plan," Thomas Nelson said.
AMATS will discuss the future of the project next Thursday. It's up to that committee to make the final decision.
Contact Ashton Goodell at firstname.lastname@example.org