Bonds: White Elephant on the Bay

When the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel opened in 1964, it was widely described as an engineering marvel and a surefire tourist attraction. Its 17½ miles of open spans and underwater tunnels connect Virginia's Cape Charles with the Norfolk area, uncorking what had been a major traffic bottleneck between New York and Florida. The 25-minute scenic crossing costs $4 for car and driver, plus 85¢ for each passenger—just pennies more than the old 90-minute ferry fare of $3.85 for car and driver. Yet traffic on the world's longest bridge-tunnel has been only half of what the experts predicted. In 1969, for example,...

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