September 09, 2008

Alaska's Bridge To Nowhere: An Update

For Pacific Views, one of the most persistent and popular searches ever are the keywords Alaska's Bridge To Nowhere which comes up with this.

With the announcement from the McCain campaign touting Sarah Palin as the maverick that was against the Bridge to Nowhere, it seems like a good time to update the search with some new facts.

When Sarah Palin ran for governor, she was an avid cheerleader for getting the funds for the bridge.

So what happened next?

Congress delinked the earmark from the bridge, but they gave the money to Alaska anyway. That's when Sarah decided that Alaska really didn't want to cough up the extra money for the bridge so she moved the funds to other projects.

But Gov. Palin's claim comes with a serious caveat. She endorsed the multimillion dollar project during her gubernatorial race in 2006. And while she did take part in stopping the project after it became a national scandal, she did not return the federal money. She just allocated it elsewhere.

"We need to come to the defense of Southeast Alaska when proposals are on the table like the bridge," Gov. Palin said in August 2006, according to the local newspaper, "and not allow the spinmeisters to turn this project or any other into something that's so negative." The bridge would have linked Ketchikan to the airport on Gravina Island. Travelers from Ketchikan (pop. 7,500) now rely on ferries.

A year ago, the governor issued a press release that the money for the project was being "redirected."

"Ketchikan desires a better way to reach the airport, but the $398 million bridge is not the answer," she said. "Despite the work of our congressional delegation, we are about $329 million short of full funding for the bridge project, and it's clear that Congress has little interest in spending any more money on a bridge between Ketchikan and Gravina Island. Much of the public's attitude toward Alaska bridges is based on inaccurate portrayals of the projects here. But we need to focus on what we can do, rather than fight over what has happened."

On Monday in Missouri, Gov. Palin put it this way: "I told Congress thanks but no thanks for that bridge to nowhere. If the state wanted to build a bridge we would built it ourselves."

Would Alaska gotten it's Bridge to Nowhere if Congress didn't delink the funds?

Probably.

Because we know what happened to funds sent to Alaska where Congress didn't delink earmarked funds to a specific project. When it came to building a road to nowhere, Sarah was able to find matching Alaska funds to finish the project. And why would she do something like that? Here's how her local paper describes it:

Meanwhile, Weinstein noted, the state is continuing to build a road on Gravina Island to an empty beach where the bridge would have gone -- because federal money for the access road, unlike the bridge money, would have otherwise been returned to the federal government.

Yup, Sarah Palin is careful with your tax dollars. It would be a shame to give that money back to be used somewhere else where it might be really needed. Like, for instance, rebuilding New Orleans.

Posted by Mary at September 9, 2008 01:17 AM | US Politics | Technorati links |
Comments

Sarah has flip-flopped on earmarks. She's flip-flopped on lots of issues.

Posted by: brian at September 9, 2008 02:48 AM

No earmark was never given for the bridge. 400 mil was given to the general transportation fund to be used as fit. As she did. As this article illustrates the the left can't stand the truth.
At her convention speech she ONLY said " thanks but no thanks. IF we where going to build the bridge we would do it ourselves." She didn't say it was a bad thing or she didn't want it. It did connect the only airport to the Ketchikan (pop. 7,500). Also all the earmark stuff happened in 2005 before she was Governor.

Posted by: liberty at September 9, 2008 05:07 PM

Also all the earmark stuff happened in 2005 before she was Governor.

Thanks for really illustrating the extent of Palin's lies. How could she tell Congress "thanks, but no thanks." if they had already killed the earmark before she even became governor? Fact is she expressed both her desire to obtain the federal funds for the bridge and her support for Alaska's congressional delegation to obtain as much funding from Congress as possible while she was campaigning for the governorship. So she lied. She never told Congress she didn't want the money for the bridge. She lied. In fact, when explaining her decision to kill it once and for all she stated, not that she had told Congress "thanks, but no thanks", but rather that it was clear that Congress had no desire to provide additional funds. She didn't turn the funding down, Congress just wasn't gonna provide it. She was an enthusiastic supporter of earmarks for Alaska. She lied. Sarah Palin has no record to run on so she lies.

Thanks for your help in making that very very clear.

Posted by: snark at September 9, 2008 06:36 PM

If America falls for this bologna...the Extreme right could never chant the battlecry Country first ever again!

Posted by: Roschelle at September 9, 2008 10:48 PM

There is no indication that Palin lied on anything. The funds were allocated to Alaska, as govenort she has the responsibility to the use those funds to the best advantage of the state.


I have no problem with Palin’s actions. It is not uncommon that projects change, it is not uncommon that when higher priorities arrive funds are directed accordingly. The people of that area wanted the bridge, and a bridge is going to be built one of these days. I see no reason to make any big deal out it. Alaska needs to grow, and that cannot happen without roads and bridges.


So what comes first, the road or the people that use the road? The road comes first. When a developer starts a subdivision what is the first thing to happen? Roads/bridges go in first. What is wrong with Alaska developing roads and bridges? Nothing at all. Alaska is allowed their fair share of federal funding--- remember Alaska is part of the USA, the largest but yet the most under developed state in the union; count oil and gas reserves—the most wealthy also.

Earmarks are not all bad, it is away for ALL states to fund up coming projects. How do you budget for upcoming projects? UUUAH---- you plan for them and start setting money aside? --very good you and A in class. That is called earmarks---the same way the US developed its interstate system---all came from earmarked funds.


This is another dead end trail liberals are following trying to make a scandal out of nothing.


Palin has a very good record as governor of Alaska. ---live with it.



Don

Posted by: Don at September 10, 2008 06:40 AM

There is no indication that Palin lied on anything. The funds were allocated to Alaska, as govenort she has the responsibility to the use those funds to the best advantage of the state.


I have no problem with Palin’s actions. It is not uncommon that projects change, it is not uncommon that when higher priorities arrive funds are directed accordingly. The people of that area wanted the bridge, and a bridge is going to be built one of these days. I see no reason to make any big deal out it. Alaska needs to grow, and that cannot happen without roads and bridges.


So what comes first, the road or the people that use the road? The road comes first. When a developer starts a subdivision what is the first thing to happen? Roads/bridges go in first. What is wrong with Alaska developing roads and bridges? Nothing at all. Alaska is allowed their fair share of federal funding--- remember Alaska is part of the USA, the largest but yet the most under developed state in the union; count oil and gas reserves—the most wealthy also.

Earmarks are not all bad, it is away for ALL states to fund up coming projects. How do you budget for upcoming projects? UUUAH---- you plan for them and start setting money aside? --very good you and A in class. That is called earmarks---the same way the US developed its interstate system---all came from earmarked funds.


This is another dead end trail liberals are following trying to make a scandal out of nothing.


Palin has a very good record as governor of Alaska. ---live with it.



Don

Posted by: Don at September 10, 2008 06:43 AM

There is no indication that Palin lied on anything.

Well that depends on how you define "lied" and "anything".

Tell me Don, how did she "tell Congress thanks, but no thanks on that bridge to nowhere..." when Congress had already killed the earmark for the project before she got anywhere near the governorship? She didn't. She lied. So she might not have lied on "anything" but she sure did lie on "nowhere".

Earmarks are not all bad, it is away for ALL states to fund up coming projects.

Palin certainly loved them before she decided that they are the epitome of what ails Washington could maybe help get her into the vice presidency. The problem with "earmarks not all being bad" is that the McCain campaign has declared that they basically are. Yet here is the 'reformer' who maverick McCain has chosen to help him clean up Washington and her record is a lot longer as a proponent of earmarks than it is as an opponent.

Palin has a very good record as governor of Alaska. ---live with it.

I certainly intend to help the Alaskans to continue living with her "good record" as governor come November 4th. Rest assured.

Posted by: snark at September 10, 2008 08:03 AM

Aren't you forgetting to add that Biden and Obama both voted yes to the funding for this bridge? In fact, they voted YES twice. Even after a No vote would have re-directed the funds toward Katrina relief. Alaska representatives ask for the money, the congress says yes. Someone like Obama who asks for billions of his own earmarks, clearly shows his "respect" for pork spending by voting yes with other pork earmarks! I imagine that's called you scratch my back, I scratch yours. That's no change, is it??

Posted by: anna at September 12, 2008 02:51 PM