CAGW Rejoices at Demise of “Bridge to Nowhere” | Citizens Against Government Waste

CAGW Rejoices at Demise of “Bridge to Nowhere”

Press Release

For Immediate ReleaseContacts: Leslie K. Paige 202-467-5334
September 24, 2007

Alexa Moutevelis 202-467-5318             

 

Washington, D.C. - Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) today celebrated a major victory over one of the most infamous pork barrel projects in recent history, the “Bridge to Nowhere.”  On September 19, Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin (R) announced the state would abandon the project and focus on other transportation priorities.

“CAGW welcomes the end of a three-year battle over a $398 million bridge for 50 people,” said CAGW President Tom Schatz.  “Taxpayers across the country and the state of Alaska will no longer be on the hook for funding what has become the poster child of government waste.”

The “Bridge to Nowhere” became a symbol of congressional excess and set off a firestorm of demands for earmark reform when it was added to the 2005 pork-stuffed transportation bill.  Congress originally designated a federal share of $229 million for the Gravina Island Bridge, connecting Gravina Island (pop. 50) to the town of Ketchikan.  But bridge opponents argued that Gravina Island is adequately served by a ferry and funding the bridge would take away from more urgent transportation priorities.  After public outcry and a bizarre series of events that included Senator Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) losing his temper on the Senate floor, Congress removed the earmark instructions and allowed state authorities to spend the money as they saw fit, leaving much of the bridge unfunded. 

Gov. Palin directed the Alaska DOT to create a list of other uses for the $36 million in federal money that will be freed up with the desertion of the project.  The DOT will also work to come up with a more financially responsible solution, such as improved ferry services, to serve the residents of Gravina Island.

In CAGW’s Congressional Pig Book, Alaska has ranked number one in pork per capita since 1999, pulling in $489.87 worth of pork per resident in 2006.  Since 1999, the state’s delegation has brought home more than $3 billion in federal pork. 

“The announcement marks a huge victory in the battle against wasteful spending.  The elimination of the Alaska bridge is a triumph for every taxpayer who protested this ridiculous waste of their hard-earned money,” concluded Schatz.

Citizens Against Government Waste is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement in government. 

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