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A Faerie's Farthing

Flitting through the internets looking for sparkly bits. All content mine and not to be reproduced without permission.

Location: All Material Copyrighted, United States

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Senator Stevens to Retire?

Senator Stevens to Retire?

Senator Stevens (R-AK) last month:

A freshman senator from Oklahoma, saying he was answering America's call to stop wasteful spending, tried Thursday to divert $452 million from two massive Alaska bridge projects and spend some of it on a hurricane-damaged bridge in New Orleans.

...Stevens threatened to quit, to become a "wounded bull on the floor of this Senate," and he vowed that if his colleagues passed the bill, "I will be taken out of here on a stretcher."

"I will put the Senate on notice -- and I don't kid people -- if the Senate decides to discriminate against our state, to take money only from our state, I'll resign from this body," he said. "This is not the Senate I came to. This is not the Senate I've devoted 37 years to, if one senator can decide he'll take all the money from one state to solve a problem of another."

The Senate this month:

The Senate Appropriations Committee removed earmarks for two controversial "bridges to nowhere" in Alaska: the Gravina bridge, which would connect Ketchikan to an island of 50 people, and the Knik Arm bridge, which would link Anchorage to a sparsely populated area. The projects have been the subject of strong criticism because of the general backlog of existing roads and bridges in desperate need of repair, especially those affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. According to the National Association of Civil Engineers, one in four bridges nationwide is structurally deficient or functionally obsolete, not including the damage from Katrina and Rita.

Be sure to call Senator Stevens and wish him well in his retirement! And pass the popcorn!

[UPDATE] The money will apparently still go to the state; it's just no longer earmarked for bridges to nowhere. As always, though, the devil's in the details:

The issue has been particularly controversial for Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) who has served as a strong advocate for the Gravina bridge despite the fact that her family owns 33-acres of undeveloped land 3/4 of a mile from the point where the bridge would touch down. Since the State would now decide how the money would be spent, her father, Governor Frank Murkowski, would now face the same ethical scrutiny.

wing tip to these crazy kids


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