Alaska Dems Delete Page Crediting Palin with Killing ‘Bridge to Nowhere’
At the suggestion of the Democratic National Committee’s Chairman, Howard Dean, who discussed it with Obama and Obama’s campaign manager, David Plouffe, a web page crediting Governor Sarah Palin with killing the “Bridge From Nowhere”, has been “memory holed”. The web site, paid for by the Alaska Democratic Party, said unequivocally that the state of Alaska officially abandoned the Bridge to Nowhere project, and credits Governor Sarah Palin.
Or … it used to say that, before the page mysteriously vanished some time since September 4th…putting the blame for the “earmarks” where it clearly should have been, on Senator Ted Stevens, since only Members of Congress can request them….
Here’s the Google cache link from September 4th: Retire Ted Stevens » Blog Archive » Ted Earmarked Funds for Bridge that Goes Nowhere. And here’s the text that they consigned to the memory hole, because it’s embarrassingly off their false and misleading message:
Ted Earmarked Funds for Bridge that Goes Nowhere
* Stevens championed proposed bridge near Ketchikan that became national symbol of wasteful spending
* Sen. Murkowski’s family would benefit personally from the bridge
* State of Alaska killed bridge
The proposed Gravina Island Bridge, also known as the “Bridge to Nowhere,” became a national symbol of wasteful congressional spending and driver of earmark reform. On Sept. 21, 2007, the State of Alaska officially abandoned the controversial project.
The Gravina Island Bridge initially received $223 million in 2005 via earmarks by Alaska Senators Ted Stevens and Lisa Murkowski. The bridge would have connected Ketchikan, Alaska with its local airport on nearby Gravina Island (population 50). Congress stripped the earmark after a national uproar about it but appropriated the money anyway for unspecified transportation uses. Former Gov. Frank Murkowski’s administration set aside about $113 million of the appropriation for the Ketchikan bridge. However, Gov. Sarah Palin said the $398 million bridge was $329 million short of full funding, and only $36 million in federal funds were set aside for it. She said it was clear Congress had little interest in spending any more money for it and that the state had higher priorities.
On Oct. 20, 2005, Ted threatened to resign from the Senate if lawmakers took away money allocated for the Gravina Island Bridge and the Knik Arm Bridge and redirected it to Hurricane Katrina repairs in Louisiana. The attempt to redirect the bridge money was defeated, but Congress later removed the earmarks after intense public criticism.
If the bridge were built, the family of Sen. Lisa Murkowski would benefit. Murkowski’s mother Nancy, wife of former Gov. Frank Murkowski, is co-owner with her three siblings of a 35-acre parcel of land on Gravina Island. The plot is valued at $245,000 and is within a mile of the bridge’s western end. While critics charge that the bridge would increase the value of their property, the Murkowski family has taken umbrage at any suggestion of impropriety. Murkowski called her family’s undeveloped Gravina parcel “a worthless piece of property.”
Dean, Obama and Plouffe will undoubtedly deny and and all wrongdoing, and say they were not in touch with the Alaska Democratic Party. What else would you expect? It is certainly just a “mistake” or some routine house cleaning, yes?
Though Gov. Palin originally supported the earmark spending on the Ketchikan bridge (“to nowhere), she eventually killed the project, chosing to spend Federal money on other infrastructure programs, and suggesting in a public address that adding additional ferry service would be a better, and less costly use of public funds.
However, Senator Joe Biden and Senator Barack Obama both voted for funding the Bridge, even when given a second chance by Sen. Tom Coburn, who proposed shifting earmark funds to Katrina relief.
Sen. John McCain did not vote on the Coburn Amendment, though he is on record as opposing the Ketchikan bridge earmark.