Last week Republican Presidential Candidate John McCain introduced Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate. And a lot was made of the fact that she rejected 233 million dollars in Congressional funds for a bridge from Ketchikan, Alaska to an airport on Gravina Island.

John McCain reiterated the point on FOX News Sunday with Chris Wallace.

But during the Alaskan Gubernatorial campaign in 2006 the Anchorage Daily News reported that she was in favor of the bridge:

On October 20, 2006, the Associated Press reported that “Republican Sarah Palin’s spokesman, Curtis Smith, said Palin supports the Ketchikan bridge project.”

Reuters reported that Ketchikan Mayor Bob Weinstein, a Democrat, and Mike Elerding, her Republican campaign coordinator in the area, said that she was insulted by the term “bridge to nowhere.”

The 233 million dollars had been earmarked specifically for the bridge by congress in 2005. In August 2007 after political pressure over pork barrel projects brought national attention to the so-called “bridge to nowhere,” Congress removed the stipulation – that the money be used for the bridge to the airport, but gave the money to the state anyway, to use in whatever way they wanted.

On September 21, 2007 A press release from the Governor’s office said that since project costs had ballooned to 398 million dollars the state would be considering alternatives to the bridge. Governor Palin said “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,”

The Reuters report added: The state, however, never gave back any of the money that was originally earmarked for the Gravina Island bridge, said Weinstein and Elerding.
In fact, the Palin administration has spent “tens of millions of dollars” in federal funds to start building a road on Gravina Island that is supposed to link up to the yet-to-be-built bridge, Weinstein said.

Republican Mike Elerding also told McClatchy Newspapers, “he would have a hard time voting for the McCain ticket because of Palin’s subsequent neglect of Ketchikan and her flip-flop on the “Ralph Bartholomew Veterans Memorial Bridge.”


Story Transcript

Dayton, Ohio
August 29, 2008

Sarah Palin and the ‘bridge to nowhere’
Carlo Basilone

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE (R): Sarah Palin of the great state of Alaska.

CARLO BASILONE: Last week, Republican presidential candidate John McCain introduced Alaska governor Sarah Palin as his running mate, and a lot was made of the fact that she rejected $233 million in Congressional funds for a bridge from Ketchikan, Alaska, to an airport on Gravina Island.

SARAH PALIN, ALASKAN GOVERNOR: I told Congress thanks, but no thanks, on that bridge to nowhere.

BASILONE: John McCain reiterated the point on FOX News Sunday with Chris Wallace.

Courtesy: Fox News Sunday

MCCAIN: We couldn’t get the Bridge to Nowhere out, although we tried. People like Tom Colbert.

FOX NEWS HOST: This is the big pork-barrel project.

MCCAIN: Yeah, the pork-barrel project—$233 million bridge on an Alaskan island with 50 people on it. She as governor stood up and said, “We don’t need it. And if we need it, we’ll pay for it ourselves.” But during the Alaskan gubernatorial campaign in 2006, The Anchorage Daily News reported that she was in favor of the bridge.

PALIN (VOICEOVER): I do support the infrastructure projects that are on tap here in the state of Alaska that our congressional delegations have worked hard for. (October 5, 2006)

BASILONE: On October 20, 2006, the Associated Press reported that “Republican Sarah Palin’s spokesman, Curtis Smith, said Palin supports the Ketchikan bridge project.” (October 20, 2006, accessed from the Nexis database.) Reuters reported that Ketchikan Mayor Bob Weinstein, a Democrat, and Mike Elerding, her Republican campaign coordinator in the area, said that she was insulted by the term “bridge to nowhere.” The $233 million had been earmarked specifically for the bridge by Congress in 2005. In August 2007, after political pressure over pork-barrel projects brought national attention to the so-called “bridge to nowhere,” Congress removed the stipulation that the money be used for the bridge to the airport, but gave the money to the state anyway, to use in whatever way they wanted. On September 21, 2007, a press release from the Governor’s office said that since project costs had ballooned to $398 million, the state would be considering alternatives to the bridge. Governor Palin said, “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.” (September 21, 2007.) The Reuters report added: “The state, however, never gave back any of the money that was originally earmarked for the Gravina Island bridge, said Weinstein and Elerding.” (Reuters, September 1, 2008.) “In fact, the Palin administration has spent ‘tens of millions of dollars’ in federal funds to start building a road on Gravina Island that is supposed to link up to the yet-to-be-built bridge, Weinstein said.” Republican Mike Elerding also told McClatchy Newspapers, “he would have a hard time voting for the McCain ticket because of Palin’s subsequent neglect of Ketchikan and her flip-flop on the “Ralph Bartholomew Veterans Memorial Bridge.” (McClatchy Newspapers, August 31, 2008.)

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Please note that TRNN transcripts are typed from a recording of the program; The Real News Network cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.