September 23, 2008
Posted: 05:00 PM ET
She said, “thanks, but no thanks,” to a “Bridge to Nowhere,” so, why didn’t Gov. Sarah Palin say, “thanks, but no thanks,” to a $26 million “Road to Nowhere?”
Here’s some background: At one point, there was supposed to be a bridge that would make it easier for people who live or visit Ketchikan, Alaska to get to nearby Gravina Island, where the airport sits. The bridge was never built, after it was publicly ridiculed by Congress as being a waste of taxpayer money.But the road that was designed to connect from the bridge to the airport was built. Now, many locals coined it the “Road to Nowhere.” And guess who paid for it? You!
But what’s really interesting is the response we received from the McCain – Palin camp about this road. I interviewed Meg Stapleton, a spokesperson for the campaign. Here is part of that interview:
Stapleton: “The governor could not change that earmark. That earmark was given, was dictated to us, and it had to be spent on Gravina Road – and nothing else. So, the governor had no option.”
Stapleton: “Uh, my understanding is that, you know, I'd have to look in to that for you. I don't know.”
Boudreau: “Who told her that?”
Stapleton: “The state D.O.T officials.”
Boudreau: “Wow. I would have thought the governor could trump the D.O.T.”
Stapleton: “Well, they're interpreting. Ultimately, it's the federal government, you’re dealing with federal earmark dollars. So, ultimately it's the federal government.”
About two hours after our on-camera interview, I received an email from Meg Stapleton that further explains Palin’s position. Here are a couple of excerpts from that email:
• Unlike the “Bridge to Nowhere,” the Governor could not cancel this road project. While Congress released the earmark for the bridge, the road was still earmarked by Washington, DC.
• To stop construction on the road would have meant for the State to pay back costs incurred by the Contractor as well as a portion of future profits.
• Bottom line: Under ordinary circumstances, Governor Palin would not have allowed the Gravina Road to move forward with the same timeline. Given the directed earmark and the signed contract, the Governor was left no viable alternative.
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