Palin on “The Bridge to No Where” from September 2007

Found this through another blog that linked an search of the New York Times on Palin back from a year ago, before anyone knew her. I didn’t realize that one million people visited Alaska for tourism.

Alaska: End Sought For ‘bridge To Nowhere’


Published: September 22, 2007

Gov. Sarah Palin ordered state transportation officials to abandon 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. ”Ketchikan desires a better way to reach the airport,” Ms. Palin, a Republican, said in a news release, ”but the $398 million bridge is not the answer.” She directed the State Transportation Department to find the most ”fiscally responsible” alternative for access to the airport. Ketchikan is Alaska’s entry port for northbound cruise ships that bring more than one million visitors yearly. Flights into Gravina Island require a 15-minute ferry ride to reach the more densely populated Revillagigedo Island and Ketchikan.

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  • Festus Garvey

    By lasty year (Sept 2007) the Brdge to nowhere was stripped from the congressional budget.  So she was opposing a program when it was already dead.  SHe always supported the program when it was in the federal budget.  When the money was in the budget for the bridge, she never said, “Thanks but no thanks”, she only says that on the campaing trail.

  • geo999

    …and Sarah Palin, Mayor of Wassilla, accepting them.

    …and Sarah Palin, Governor of Alaska, accepting them.

    I – don’t – care.

    Sarah Palin was responsible to the people she governed. Period.

    Accepting whatever Federal monies were available to benefit her city or state was part of that responsibility.

    It is the responsibility of Congress to do something about the earmark problem.  

  • Renee

    Sarah Palin stood against the Bridge to Nowhere. Why didn’t Obama and Biden?

    About a month later the Senate Appropriations Committee removed the earmarking language for the bridge from that year’s transportation appropriations bill, in effect leaving funding for the bridge intact but allowing the state of Alaska to decide whether or not to proceed with the project. In an amendment sponsored by Rep. Mark Kirk of Illinois, the House passed strong language on June 7, 2006, that actually prohibited federal funds from being used on the bridge. The Senate, however, never took up the matter, and the ball was passed to Alaska.

    Frank Murkowski, the governor of Alaska at that time, was clear about his intentions. He said through a spokesperson, “We don’t know what the next governor is going to do, but we believe it’s appropriate to move forward on the project. It’s something we’ve been trying to get moved forward for the last four years.”

    Murkowski’s last budget included a $91 million down-payment on the bridge, the most available to him under state-federal funding formulas. This set the planning process in motion for the bridge and appeared to lock future Gov. Sarah Palin (who upended Murkowski in the Republican primary) into building the bridge.

    A New York Times article on March 6, 2007, titled “Alaskan Bridge Projects Resist Earmarks Purge,” bemoaned the fact that the bridge would still likely be built because of Alaska pork-barrel politics. The Times apparently assumed that Palin would buckle under pressure from Sen. Stevens, just as Obama, Biden, and most of the U.S. Senate had done.  The Times wrote, pessimistically, that

       Regardless of the ridicule about the bridges as a pork-barrel binge, there are political facts that have kept hope alive for those who believe the projects are necessary for Alaska to grow economically. To direct the federal financing to other projects, for example, would require action by Gov. Sarah Palin, a Republican, and the State Legislature. It would also mean undoing the work of the powerful Congressional delegation, led by Senator Ted Stevens.

    The Times authors must have been surprised when Palin stood up to Stevens and pulled the plug on the bridge on September 21, 2007.