Remember the Bridge to Nowhere? Last week, in her VP acceptance speech, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin told the crowd, “I told Congress, thanks but no thanks on that bridge to nowhere.”
Turns out she was for the bridge before she was against it. The bridge (actually called the Gravina Island Bridge) was the mother of all ridiculous federal earmarks, bringing in a $223 million set-aside in 2005.
While campaigning for governor in 2006, she was pro-bridge, saying to Ketchikan residents while on the campaign trail that she could felt their pain when other politicians called them “nowhere.” And in a televised debate in Oct. 2006, while she was campaigning, she also said, “I do support the infrastructure projects that are on tap here in the State of Alaska that our Congressional delegations worked hard for.” She later decided to use the bridge funds for other projects, not long before her name started circulating as a possible candidate for VP.
Outcry against the bridge prompted Congress to later remove the earmark designation, but the state still got the same amount of cash to be used at their discretion for transportation. And the Palin administration has spent “tens of millions of dollars” of that money on a road on Gravina Island … that is meant to link up to the bridge, which still doesn’t exist.
Meanwhile, McCain has used the bridge repeatedly as an example of the evils of earmarks (though when he had the opportunity to legislate on the issue, he never specifically criticized the project, and he was absent for key votes on its funding it). As for Palin, many Alaskans are miffed that she’s dissing their bridge.