Gravina Island Bridge

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Gravina Island Bridge, the so-called "Bridge to Nowhere", was a proposed 2007 project in Alaska, requested by Alaskans, and meant to link the city of Ketchikan with inaccessible Gravina Island. The proposed project was used to criticize a since-failed Congressional earmark sponsored by Alaska Senator Ted Stevens during a partisan Witchhunt to unseat the senior Republican senator. In an unrelated case, Stevens was ultimately found not guilty due to prosecutorial misconduct, falsification of evidence, albeit not until after his losing a reelection bid.[1] The bridge project had no relationship with allegations brought against Sen. Stevens, nonetheless Sen. Stevens suffered from smears and innuendo by partisan opponents and main stream news organizations seeking to taint the proposed project with the aura of corruption.

It was also used for partisan purposes to paint Governor Sarah Palin with corruption in the same way.

Though Governor Palin originally supported the earmark spending on the Ketchikan bridge (“to nowhere"), which was the usual procedure for all state governors in dealing with Congressional "earmarks", she eventually killed the project, choosing to spend Federal money on other infrastructure programs.[2] Most of the Mainstream Media were not overly eager to report that the Democratic Party standard bearers, Senators Barack Obama and Joe Biden both voted to approve funding for the earmark, and later voted against an attempt by Sen. Tom Coburn to redirect the money to Hurricane Katrina disaster relief.[3]

Ketchikan desires a better way to reach the airport, but the $398 million bridge is not the answer. -- Gov. Sarah Palin, 9/21/2007 [4]

Time Line

  • Palin expressed support for the bridge while running for office.
  • Congress removed earmarks for both bridges long before Palin was elected.
  • Palin chose not to use the money for the Gravina bridge but kept it for other projects, including the Knik Arm bridge.
  • Biden and Obama voted for the authorization bill, which included the earmarks, and the final appropriations bill, which didn't.
  • Senator John McCain voted against the authorization but was not present for the vote on the final appropriations bill.
  • Senator Joe Biden and Barack Obama while still a Senator, voted against redirecting the money intended for Alaska to Louisiana.[5]


See also