Sunday, August 31, 2008

Palin Lied About Bridge To Nowhere

I wanted to like Sarah Palin. I really did. She seemed like a breath of fresh air, taking on a corrupt establishment in her own party. She seemed far away from Washington politics.

But alas, Palin blatantly lied when she said she opposed the infamous pork barrel boondoggle, the "Bridge to Nowhere." The proof is on her own Web site.

Let's start with what Palin said she did about the boondoggle (emphasis mine):

"I signed major ethics reform. And I appointed both Democrats and independents to serve in my administration. And I championed reform to end the abuses of earmark spending by Congress. In fact, I told Congress — I told Congress, “Thanks, but no thanks,” on that bridge to nowhere.

"If our state wanted a bridge, I said we’d build it ourselves. Well, it’s always, though, safer in politics to avoid risk, to just kind of go along with the status quo. But I didn’t get into government to do the safe and easy things. A ship in harbor is safe, but that’s not why the ship is built."

Now let's take a look at the press release Gov. Palin issued last year announcing the project,, the Gravina Island bridge, was dead. I'm quoting the entire press release (emphasis mine)

Gravina Access Project Redirected

September 21, 2007, Juneau, Alaska - Governor Sarah Palin today directed the Department of Transportation and Public Facilities to look for the most fiscally responsible alternative for access to the Ketchikan airport and Gravina Island instead of proceeding any further with the proposed $398 million bridge.

“Ketchikan desires a better way to reach the airport, but the $398 million bridge is not the answer,” said Governor Palin. “Despite the work of our congressional delegation, we are about $329 million short of full funding for the bridge project, and it’s clear that Congress has little interest in spending any more money on a bridge between Ketchikan and Gravina Island,” Governor Palin added. “Much of the public’s attitude toward Alaska bridges is based on inaccurate portrayals of the projects here. But we need to focus on what we can do, rather than fight over what has happened.” The Department of Transportation has approximately $36 million in federal funds that will become available for other projects with the shutdown of the Gravina Island bridge project. Governor Palin has directed Commissioner Leo von Scheben to review transportation projects statewide to prepare a list of possible uses for the funds, while the department also looks for a more affordable answer for Gravina Island access.

“There is no question we desperately need to construct new roads in this state, including in Southeast Alaska, where skyrocketing costs for the Alaska Marine Highway System present an impediment to the state’s budget and the region’s economy,” said von Scheben.

“The original purpose of this project was to improve access to Gravina Island, and we will continue to work with the community to help them attain that goal,” von Scheben said.

The commissioner said his department would continue to work with local officials to discuss future plans for development of Gravina Island.

Far from refusing Congress' assistance, Palin was counting on it. Of the $398 million total, $329 million was to come from Congress. It was only when it became clear that Congress would not give the money that Palin said the project was dead.

The Alaskan press is now pointing out the blatant contradictions in what Gov. Palin told Alaskans last year and in her 2006 gubernatorial campaign, and what vice-presidential candidate Palin is now telling the rest of the country.

Here is what the Daily News-Miner says:

On Oct. 22, 2006, the Anchorage Daily News asked Palin and the other candidates, “Would you continue state funding for the proposed Knik Arm and Gravina Island bridges?”

Her response: “Yes. I would like to see Alaska’s infrastructure projects built sooner rather than later. The window is now — while our congressional delegation is in a strong position to assist.”

Assist -- is that what you call it when Congress is expected to supply 83 percent of the funding?

Palin is imploding -- not because of the crazy rumors spread by leftist nutbags -- but because of her own words. And McCain may have ruined his own rather good prospects to beat Barack Obama by neglecting an easily verifiable fact in Palin's vetting process.

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