She said no, and yes, to "Bridge to Nowhere''

  • Article by: SCOTT GILLESPIE
  • Updated: September 9, 2008 - 4:07 PM
A number of news media organizations have tried to set the record straight on Gov. Sarah Palin's now oft-repeated campaign claim that she put the breaks on the so-called "Bridge to Nowhere.'' On Monday, an e-mail from the McCain campaign defended the claim and cited a Sept. 6 story by the Washington Post that said Palin's opposition to the bridge had angered top-ranking Republicans. The e-mail did not mention a Sept. 9 "Fact Checker'' from the Post, which gave Palin a three-Pinocchio rating, concluding: "While it is true Palin declared an end to the project, that's beside the point. It would be more accurate to say that she finally bowed to fiscal reality and congressional politics after a year as governor, and killed off a project that had become a national joke.'' Meanwhile, here's the e-mail from the McCain campaign:

 


All: In an effort to ensure that your reporting is accurate and
reflective of the facts -- not hysterical attacks from the Obama
campaign -- please find below Governor Palin's record on stopping the
"Bridge to Nowhere."

Here's comment from the McCain campaign on the Obama campaign's
hysterical reaction to the new McCain-Palin ad, "Original Mavericks":

"The only people 'lying' about spending are the Obama campaign. The only
explanation for their hysterical attacks is that they're afraid that
when John McCain and Sarah Palin are in the White House, Barack Obama's
nearly $1 billion in earmark spending will stop dead in its tracks."
--McCain-Palin spokesman Brian Rogers

The facts are clear: After taking office and examining the project
closely, Governor Palin consistently opposed funding the "Bridge to
Nowhere" and ultimately canceled the wasteful project. She stopped it.

PolitiFact.com reported that "Palin officially killed the project." And
as the Washington Post reported just last Saturday, Governor Palin's
opposition to the "Bridge to Nowhere" was a key reason why she angered
some Alaska Republicans who favored the status quo:

"But she has angered two of Alaska's leading Republicans -- Sen. Ted
Stevens and Rep. Don Young -- by refusing to support their decades-long
practice of securing federal money for the state, including Young's
effort to obtain $233 million for a structure dubbed the 'Bridge to
Nowhere' by critics because it would have connected a small town with an
island populated with 50 people. In her short time in state office, she
has repeatedly thwarted Stevens's and Young's interests and, at times,
challenged their candidates -- including their children." (Amy Goldstein
and Michael D. Shear, "A Tenacious Reformer's Swift Rise," The
Washington Post
<http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/08/29/AR20080
82903593_pf.html> , 8/30/08)

FACT: In Office, Governor Palin Would Not Fund The Project And
Eventually Canceled It

PolitiFact.com: "It's True That On Sept. 21, 2007, Palin Officially
Killed The Project." "It's true that on Sept. 21, 2007, Palin officially
killed the project." (St. Petersburg Times/CQ's PolitiFact.com, "On
Support For The Bridge To Nowhere," Politifact.com
<http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/680/> )

In December 2006, Governor Palin Proposed Her First Budget Which
Included No Funds For The "Bridge To Nowhere" Saying "We Need To Make
Wise, Sensible Choices." "Gov. Sarah Palin proposed a spending plan
Friday that would increase the state operating budget by 5 percent while
shaking the list of publicly funded construction projects down to the
bare minimum. ... Palin's budget doesn't include money for mega projects
that she supported as a candidate, such as the controversial Gravina
Island bridge in Ketchikan. Asked if she'd changed her mind about the
project, Palin said she will hash out where the bridge fits on the
state's list of priorities with the help of the Legislature and public.
'We have a limited pot of money, of course, and we need to make wise,
sensible choices,' she said." (Kyle Hopkins, "Budget Plan Calls For
Belt-Tightening," Anchorage Daily News, 12/16/06)

In February 2007, Governor Palin's Transition Team Criticized The
"Bridge To Nowhere" Project Concluding That The Project Was "A Severe
Drain On Resources That Would Otherwise Be Assigned To Heavily Used
Commercial And Passenger Routes." "Both the Juneau road and the
Ketchikan Gravina Island Bridge project, known by its detractors as the
'Bridge to Nowhere,' drew criticism in the report. 'Statewide, these two
projects are seen as a severe drain on resources that would otherwise be
assigned to heavily used commercial and passenger routes,' the report
said. The team said federal earmarks in Congressional appropriations
trump all other priorities, including those in the State Transportation
Improvement Plan, and the state suffers as a result." (Pat Forgey,
"Palin Team Sees Low Morale In Southeast," Juneau Empire, 2/6/07)

The 2007 Budget Included No State Funding For The "Bridges To Nowhere."
"The Alaska Senate on Friday tentatively approved spending $1.6 billion
on capital projects in the next budget year, including about $460
million from the state treasury. ... Conspicuously absent from the
143-page document is any new money for three of last year's most
contentious projects, the Juneau road and the Gravina and Knik bridges.
The two bridges, which received funding as Congressional earmarks, came
to national attention after critics of federal pork-barrel spending
dubbed them 'Bridges to Nowhere.' Community leaders in Ketchikan are
currently reviewing alternatives to the $400 million dollar bridge
project. The capital budget includes $5.7 million to replace the vehicle
ferry that currently serves the island." (Anne Sutton, "Senate Passes
Capital Budget With Little Debate," The Associated Press, 5/12/07)

In September 2007, Governor Palin Ordered A Halt To The Ketchikan Bridge
Project. "Gov. Sarah Palin ordered state transportation officials Friday
to abandoned the 'bridge to nowhere' project that became a nationwide
symbol of federal pork-barrel spending. The $398 million bridge would
have connected Ketchikan, on one island in southeastern Alaska, to its
airport on another nearby island." (Steve Quinn, "Alaska State
Government Abandons Ketchikan Bridge Project, Dubbed 'Bridge To
Nowhere'," The Associated Press, 9/21/07)

*         On September 19, 2007, The Alaska Department Of Transportation
Released A Statement Saying Governor Palin Ordered A Halt To The Bridge
Project. "Governor Sarah Palin today directed the Department of
Transportation and Public Facilities to look for the most fiscally
responsible alternative for access to the Ketchikan airport and Gravina
Island instead of proceeding any further with the proposed $398 million
bridge." (Alaska Department Of Transportation & Public Facilities,
"Gravina Access Project Redirected," Press Release, 9/19/07)

*         "Palin Pulled The Plug On The Project Last Fall. The Bridge
Would Have Connected The City Of Ketchikan To Its Airport On A Nearby
Island In Southeast Alaska." (Mary Pemberton, "Palin Accused Of Using
Bridge To Gain Stature," The Associated Press, 8/31/08)

*         Governor Palin: The Bridge To Nowhere "Is Not The Answer" To
Reach Ketchikan. "'Ketchikan desires a better way to reach the airport,
but the $398 million bridge is not the answer,' Palin said in a news
release." (Steve Quinn, "Alaska State Government Abandons Ketchikan
Bridge Project, Dubbed 'Bridge To Nowhere'," The Associated Press,
9/21/07)

FACT: Barack Obama And Joe Biden Voted Against Taking Money Away From
The "Bridge To Nowhere" To Fund Rebuilding In New Orleans:

Barack Obama And Joe Biden Voted Against An Amendment That Would
Transfer $125 Million Of The "Bridge To Nowhere" Earmark Funds To
Rebuilding A Bridge In New Orleans In The Fiscal 2006 Transportation
Appropriations Bill. "Coburn, R-Okla., amendment that would transfer
$125 million in funding from the Ketchikan-Gravina and Knik Arm bridge
projects in Alaska to the reconstruction of the Twin Spans Bridge
connecting New Orleans and Slidell, La. It would place remaining Alaska
bridge funds into a general highway fund for Alaska." (H.R. 3058, CQ
Vote #262: Rejected 15-82: R 11-43; D 4-38; I 0-1, 10/20/05, Obama and
Biden Voted Nay)

FACT: Obama Requested Nearly $1 Billion In Earmark Spending For The FY
2006, FY 2007, And FY 2008 Appropriations Bills:

Obama Requested 330 Projects Totaling Almost $1 Billion ($931.3 Million)
Since Being Sworn In As A Senator In January 2005:

*    Obama requested 112 projects totaling $399.8 million for FY
2008. (Obama Senate website, 6/21/07)
*    Obama requested 139 projects totaling $334 million for FY 2007
(Obama campaign release of FY 2006 and FY 2007 requests)
*    Obama requested 79 projects totaling $197.5 million for FY 2006
(Obama campaign release of FY 2006 and FY 2007 requests)
  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

  • about opinion

  • The Opinion section is produced by the Editorial Department to foster discussion about key issues. The Editorial Board represents the institutional voice of the Star Tribune and operates independently of the newsroom.

  • Submit a letter or commentary
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Question of the Day

Poll: Should KC Chiefs player Husain Abdullah have been penalized?

Weekly Question
 
Close