Friday, October 21, 2005

Senator Ted Stevens throws a hissy fit

The president pro tem of the Senate got his $230 million bridge, but only after he threatened to quit if he didn't.

Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska, the chamber's senior Republican, became furious when Sen. Tom Coburn, Oklahoma Republican, offered an amendment yesterday that would have forbidden building the bridge and sent some of the money to rebuild the Interstate 10 bridge across Lake Pontchartrain, which was damaged by Hurricane Katrina.

"If the Senate decides to discriminate against our state, to take money only from our state, I will resign from this body," Mr. Stevens said. "If one senator can decide he'll take all the money from one state to solve a problem of another, that is not a union. That is not equality."

He was defending a bridge from Ketchikan, Alaska, with a population slightly less than 15,000, to Gravina Island, with a population counted in the dozens.

Critics have dubbed it the "bridge to nowhere," but Alaska's congressional delegation said the bridge is the only way for the region to see economic growth because it would connect the only parts of the area that are still in private hands and can be developed.

Mr. Coburn wanted to shift $125 million from the bridge to the Lake Pontchartrain spans, and then send the rest of the money back to Alaska for other projects, as long as they don't go to pay for the bridge.

His amendment failed on an 82-15 vote, with 11 Republicans and four Democrats voting in favor.

Mr. Coburn, who has assumed the mantle of chief taxpayer watchdog in the Senate, said the bridge doesn't make sense...
From: Stevens wins Senate fight for Alaska's $230 million bridge

And the threatened resignation would be a bad thing because?...

Update: An NPR segment has audio of Senator Stevens' 'threat'.

Update 2: BizzyBlog has the goods on Ted Stevens, from here on out know as "Waste Ted" Stevens. BizzyBlog references Citizen Against Government Waste's pork report.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stevens:
If the Senate decides to discriminate against our state, to take money only from our state, I will resign from this body," Mr. Stevens said. "If one senator can decide he'll take all the money from one state to solve a problem of another, that is not a union. That is not equality."

So Steven instead takes money from all the other states to solve the "problems" of Alaska, and that IS equality?

The Lake P bridge problem is a real emergency for an area trying to get on its feet after a disaster. The Bridge to Nowhere is a Hail Mary Pass for economic development that Alaskans, who are rich beyond measure in oil and mineral revenues, must not have seen fit to fund on their own.

Tom Blumer
BizzyBlog

October 21, 2005 at 10:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, remind me of how much it would cost to maintain this thing (and who's paying).

Also, has anybody thought about how this bridge will be in snow emergencies (it does snow up there a little)? Do they have the emergency capability to help the 2-3 people an hour who will use the bridge if it gets bad and they get stranded? And if it's a new capability that will be needed only because of the bridge, how much will THAT cost?

BizzyBlog

October 21, 2005 at 10:30 PM  

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