ABC’s Charles Gibson’s shameful lies & The bias of the Liberal Left Media – The truth about the Bridge to Nowhere and how it was funded.
ABC’s Charles Gibson falsely accused Governor Palin of “Being for the Bridge to Nowhere before you were against the Bridge to Nowhere”. With Gibson’s large staff of researchers one would have to assume Gibson knew his accusation to be false. http://councilfor.cagw.org/site/News2?abbr=CCAGW_&page=NewsArticle&id=11594
Thanks to ABC’s editing, Palin’s actual, verbatim, responses to this false accusation may never be heard.
The following is a brief analysis of the facts, based on Congressional voting records and State Budget Documents.
The spending Proposal to fund the Bridge was submitted in 2005 to the US House, by US Rep Don Young, (R) from Alaska. The “Bridge” received funding that year, 2005, while Palin was serving as Mayor of Wasilla. This “fact” can been confirmed by Congressional documents and in fact, has been confirmed by the independent consumer group, “Citizen’s Against Government Waste.” http://councilfor.cagw.org/site/News2?abbr=CCAGW_&page=NewsArticle&id=11594
The original “bill” funding the $223 Million “Bridge” (in fact 2 bridges were funded) was passed by the US House of Representatives, the US Senate and was signed by President Bush and became law in 2005. When the bill reached the US Senate, Senators Obama and Biden voted to fund the Bridge while Senator McCain did not. In 2005 Mayor Palin was not involved with any part of this process. In 2005 the Governor of Alaska was Frank Murkowski, the incumbent Republican Governor Mayor Palin later defeated. http://councilfor.cagw.org/site/News2?abbr=CCAGW_&page=NewsArticle&id=11594
In October, 2005, Senator Tom Colburn, (R) Oklahoma, offered an amendment to transfer $75 million from the ’Bridge to Nowhere” to funding to rebuild New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina. His amendment was defeated by a vote of 15-82. Senators Biden and Obama voted with the Majority and against the amendment which would have decreased funding for the Bridge to Nowhere; Sen. McCain was not present for the vote. http://councilfor.cagw.org/site/News2?abbr=CCAGW_&page=NewsArticle&id=11594
With the completion of this vote in October 2005, formal Congressional opposition to the “Bridge to Nowhere” came to an end.
In November, 2005, Congress included language in the final version of the fiscal 2006 Transportation Appropriations Act that allowed the state of Alaska to either spend money on the two bridges or on other surface transportation projects. Frank Murkowski was still the Governor of Alaska. http://councilfor.cagw.org/site/News2?abbr=CCAGW_&page=NewsArticle&id=11594
Congress was attempting to create “cover” for the Congresspeople and Senators who voted to fund the “Bridge to Nowhere” by changing this language. Politicians, when questioned, could claim they didn’t vote to fund the “Bridge”, that question was left for the State of Alaska to answer. Congress tossed this fully approved, fully funded, “hot potato” to the Alaska Governor.
In October, 2006, Alaska Governor Frank Murkowski included $91 million for the Bridge to Nowhere (actually known as the Gravina Island Bridge) in his State budget submission for fiscal year 2007. This money, $91 million, would be financed directly by Alaskan Taxpayers and would be added to the $223 Million of Federal funds to build the Bridge. http://councilfor.cagw.org/site/News2?abbr=CCAGW_&page=NewsArticle&id=11594
As a candidate for governor, Sarah Palin expressed a mixture of support and doubt about the bridge. Specifically, Candidate Palin questioned how the project would be funded. Candidate Palin supported the concept of a Bridge to Gravina Island and the improved transportation it would bring the residents of the Island, however, Candidate Palin also questioned whether the planned bridge was the “right answer” or “the right bridge”.
Candidate Palin questioned whether the Bridge was fiscally responsible.
Palin was elected Governor and took office in January 2007. Governor Palin submitted her first budget on January 17, 2007, two weeks into her Administration. The Governor’s budget contained no money for the Bridge.
On July 17, 2007, the Associated Press reported that “The state of Alaska on Friday officially abandoned the ‘bridge to nowhere’ project that became a nationwide symbol of federal pork-barrel spending.” Governor Palin said in a statement that “Ketchikan desires a better way to reach the airport, but the $398 million bridge is not the answer.” http://councilfor.cagw.org/site/News2?abbr=CCAGW_&page=NewsArticle&id=11594
According to the Committee for Citizen’s Against Government Waste, “Media reports that Congress killed the Bridge to Nowhere are not accurate,”. “The 2006 transportation appropriations bill allowed Alaska to decide whether or not to move forward.“ The decision on whether to spend the money on the Bridge to Nowhere was left up to the Governor of Alaska. The money, which had already been appropriated, could have been spent on the “pork barrel bridge project” or on “freeways and infrastructure” items that are not considered “pork barrel”. According to Citizens Against Government Waste, ”Governor Murkowski said yes; Governor Palin said no.”
ABC’s Charles Gibson and the spiteful Media claim that Governor Palin, “took no action on the ‘Bridge to Nowhere’ until after Congress “killed the project’“, that claim is an outright lie. ABC’s Gibson and the Liberal Press are showing their bias when they make that false claim or falsely state that Governor Palin was, “for the Bridge before you were against it“. Gibson knows his accusation is a falsehood – the voting records are a matter of public record. Congress never killed “the Bridge to Nowhere“, it was given full and final approval by Congress and provided with funding. http://councilfor.cagw.org/site/News2?abbr=CCAGW_&page=NewsArticle&id=11594
Congress presented Alaska with two choices “Build the Bridge” or “Kill the Bridge and use the money elsewhere”. The criticism of “The Bridge to Nowhere” by Congress had ended long before Governor Palin made her choice. The “Bridge” was fully funded at the time she made her choice.
Governor Palin said NO to the “Bridge to Nowhere”. Governor Palin said ”NO” two weeks into her Administration.
In a closing shot at Governor Palin, Gibson noted that Congress sent approximately $200 million in earmark funds to Alaska this year. Those funds were requested by Alaska’s Congressional delegation, not Governor Palin. Gibson failed to mention that the 2008 total, $200 million, was $445 Million less than the amount sent by the last Congress. ($645 Million). The amount of earmarked money being sent to Alaska has been reduced by nearly 70% in two years. A 70% reduction in just two years. In addition to that amount, Governor Palin has cut $500 million in wasteful spending from the Alaska State budget in just this past year. http://councilfor.cagw.org/site/News2?abbr=CCAGW_&page=NewsArticle&id=11594
Governor Palin has earned the right to call herself a Reformer and a Maverick.
This is what ABC News had to say about the “Bridge” in September 2007. The End of the Bridge to Nowhere
September 21, 2007 1:43 PM
ABC News’ John Cochran reports: The Bridge to Nowhere is gone. Not the victim of aging frames, bolts and joints. No, this bridge has collapsed, even before it was built, after an onslaught of angry editorials, furious anti-pork citizens groups, and caustic jokes on late night TV.
First, that name. It was not accurate. If built, the bridge would have gone somewhere. It would have replaced the ferry that takes residents of Ketchikan, Alaska (population 8,000) to the local airport on Gravina Island. In 2005, Congress approved $223 million for construction.
In Washington, groups such as Taxpayers for Common Sense and Citizens Against Government Waste, rallied their troops to try to block the money. They said the island was home to far more deer than people (50).
The bridge’s main sponsor in the Senate, Alaska Republican Ted Stevens, was outraged by any attempt to prevent his state from getting federal funds. In 2004, with the help of Stevens, his state got special projects worth $645 million. That was $984 for every Alaskan. By contrast, Congress handed out less than $3 to every Texan. And a Texan was, and still is, the President.
But the barrage of publicity was too much for his fellow Republicans. Senator John McCain, R.-Ariz., cited the Bridge to Nowhere as a perfect example of wasteful spending. Senator Tom Coburn R-Okla., a longtime foe of pork spending, tried to shift the money to rebuild an interstate highway damaged by Hurricane Katrina.
Senator Stevens grew even more outraged: “I don’t kid people. If the Senate decides to discriminate against our state…I will resign.” He did not resign.
An uneasy compromise was reached. Congress took away the money for the Gravina Island bridge and another Alaskan bridge which was almost as controversial. Instead, Congress gave the money to the state with the understanding that it was not required to use the funds specifically for bridges.
Friday, the state of Alaska officially sank the Bridge to Nowhere. Governor Sarah Palin, also a Republican, said “Ketchikan desires a better way to reach the airport.” “But,” she said, the bridge “is not the answer.” Palin has told state transportation officials to look for the most “fiscally responsible” alternative.
A spokesman for Senator Stevens was not immediately available for comment.
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