Sarah Palin Supports $600 Million Bridge to Hometown of Wasilla, Alaska
ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Governor and Vice President Nominee Sarah Palin may eventually have said “thanks but no thanks” to a federally funded Bridge to Nowhere.
But a bridge to her hometown of Wasilla, that’s an altogether different story.
A $600 million bridge and highway project to link Alaska’s largest city to Palin’s town of 7,000 residents is moving full speed ahead, despite concerns the bridge could worsen some commuting and even threaten a population of beluga whales.
Local officials already have spent $42 million on plans to route traffic across the Knik Arm inlet, a narrow finger of water extending roughly 25 miles northeast of the Alaskan port city of Anchorage
A Democratic council member in Anchorage will try Tuesday to spike the city’s sponsorship of the project, which Palin supports with some reservations.
“This is basically an incredibly expensive project that doesn’t help commuters, doesn’t help create jobs and may drive whales to extinction,” said Justin Massey, an attorney advising environmentalists opposed to the proposal. “It is also a project that serves the area where the governor is from, which is near and dear to her heart.”
The Knik Arm was one of two bridge proposals in Alaska awarded more than $450 million from lawmakers who requested money for special projects in 2005, when Young chaired the House Transportation Committee. Young, Alaska’s 18-term congressman, has said Alaska still lacks basic roads, railroads and bridges that were developed long ago in older and less spacious states.