Why Now?
Thursday, September 22, 2005
  A Bridge Too Far
Most people are aware of the incredibly stupid bridge that Don Young, the Chairman of the House Transportation Committee stuck in that slab of fatback called the Transportation Bill. The Gravina bridge is often quoted as costing $230 million, but the real cost will be around $315 million. This is a bridge between two islands with a total of less 9,000 people affected that will put a ferry service out of business.

Some are of the opinion that the real reason for the bridge is to promote residential development on the island with the airport, which currently has 50 residents who work at the airport.

Don is Alaska's only Congressman so he is always hustling for projects to bring Federal dollars to Alaska, as exemplified by this press release: Delegation Announces Grants And Loans To Alaska Programs. As this table shows, he manages to get Alaska about $6.50 for every dollar Alaska sends to the Federal government in transportation taxes.

The thing is Alaskans don't pay state taxes. State government is funded by the $31.5 billion permanent fund created from the North Slope oil field and pipeline. With the rising price of oil they are becoming more comfortable than ever. You would probably wonder why he thinks he needs all of this money from other states when the state of Alaska makes an annual payment to every person who has been a legal resident of Alaska for a year.

While the San Diego Union-Tribune reports that the Alaska dividend payout drops for fifth straight year, every "eligible man, woman and child will receive $845.76 just for living in Alaska"

If Alaskans really want that bridge they can afford to build it without adding to the Federal deficit.

I think that most people have seen that there is a major lack of transportation resources along the Gulf coast, and that lack makes hurricane evacuations rather problematical. It would be nice if there were at least one four-lane road North out of every county on the Florida Panhandle, and if the main East-West road, Interstate 10 wasn't so readily damaged in a hurricane. But that can't be important or the states along the Gulf coast would get more than 85¢ back for every dollar they pay in Federal transportation taxes.


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