Palin Defends Construction of ‘Road to Nowhere’
As we reported in detail last week, Palin's administration oversaw the construction of the Gravina Island Highway, a 3.2-mile access road to the "Bridge to Nowhere." Since it was obvious in 2007 that the $398 million bridge from Gravina Island to Ketchikan would never be built, government watchdogs urged the Palin administration to put the brakes on the project. Construction began in June of 2007, more than six months after Palin took office, and completed last week.
The McCain campaign did not directly address our questions about the road, but on Tuesday, a CNN report (which includes some striking aerial shots of the empty cul-de-sac at the road's end, seen above) included a detailed response from the campaign. Spokeswoman Meg Stapleton explained that the governor "had no option" but to build the road, because an earmark had "dictated" that the money had to be spent on it.
But the governor did have a viable alternative. Gov. Frank Murkowski (R) signed the contract for the road on Dec. 1, 2006, three days before he left office. Palin could have canceled that contract upon taking office, according to Alaska Department of Transportation spokesman Roger Wetherell. In such cases, contractors are reimbursed for any expenses incurred in association with the project.
For instance, in her first month in office, Palin cancelled a $18.6 million contract to build a one-lane, 11-mile gravel road out of Juneau. continued
And for your listening pleasure, Road to Nowhere by the Talking Heads
hat tip oddjob