The Bay Area Council doesn't think small — asked to come up with a plan to improve water transportation in the region, the area's premier business group arrived at a $1.6 billion proposal. The Council is selling it mostly as a useful system to have in place in case of a disaster that destroys roads and bridges, and partly as a way to make life better for cross-bay commuters. The plan prescribes 88 new vessels on the water, 18 of which should be — wait for it — hovercrafts! These “next generation” hovercrafts will float on a cushion of air, glide quietly over both water and land, and don't really exist yet. Previous hovercrafts have been noisy, clunky vessels, used primarily in remote regions of Alaska and Scandinavia. Still, it seems appropriate for San Francisco to develop the first urban hovercraft fleet. The vessels are environmentally friendly, since they don't require any harbor dredging and don't create a wake that disrupts the fishies.
The Bay Area Council contacted the only two U.S. companies in the hovercraft biz to discuss the possibilities; both were kinda excited about the idea of making many millions of dollars. Both said that, if there were enough orders in the Bay Area, it would be feasible to build the vessels here, which fits into the Council's long-shot dream of revitalizing the historic shipbuilding industry with a new, next-generation shipyard in Alameda (good luck with that). The first batch of funding for the project to be included in the massive infrastructure bond the legislature is putting together for the November ballot.
But enough about all that — hovercrafts!! Understandably excited, SF Weekly would hereby like to submit its proposal for what a suitably San Franciscan hovercraft should look like: