Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

"Bridges to Nowhere" is a cute, meaningless sound bite
myself | 16 Nov 2005 | redpoll

Posted on 11/16/2005 3:56:13 PM PST by redpoll

I've had it with the phrase "Bridges to Nowhere." Someone has to speak up for Alaskans.

I've lived in Ketchikan and the Mat-Su valley, two of the places next to "nowhere." Ketchikan is a thin strip of roadway on a mountain cliff next to the ocean. The bridge would connect Ketchikan to the island next door, which has many square miles of flat land that could be developed for the benefit of the community. The Knik Arm bridge connects Anchorage, Alaska's largest city, with the Mat-Su valley, Alaska's fastest growing community. Calling the Knik Arm bridge a bridge to "nowhere" is either stupidity or willful disregard of the facts.

Do these places deserve more roads? Look at a map of Alaska. Look at the towns. Now look at the roads connecting them. Most of the state has no roads at all. The village where I'm typing this is 280 miles from the nearest road. As a result, a trip to Wal-Mart costs me $500 on a small plane to Fairbanks. A gallon of milk costs $12 at the local grocery store. Gas is running at $4.20 a gallon. A road between my village and Fairbanks would radically reduce the cost of living, as well as help connect us to the rest of the economy of North America. Of course, building the road would mean a road to "nowhere."

The critics of the bridges have their arguments backwards. Gravina Island, located next to Ketchikan, has 50 residents because the only way to get there right now is by boat. Since there is no infrastructure, there are no residents. You need to build the infrastructure first to get the residents. The Knik Arm bridge will connect a relatively unpopulated section of the Mat-Su valley to Anchorage; it will also turn a 60-minute commute from Wasilla into a 20-minute drive. You don't often find commuters "nowhere."

There is a long tradition in this country of building infrastructure with government funding to boost local economies. The Cumberland Road went "nowhere" at first. The railroads in the 19th century went through vast expanses of "nowhere." The Golden Gate bridge connected San Francisco to "nowhere," the undeveloped sections of Marin County. The Mackinac Straits bridge went from lower Michigan to "nowhere." A lot of the interstate highway system goes "nowhere."

Sure, there are boondoggles, from the C and O Canal to the poorly built dikes around New Orleans. On the other hand, there's Hoover Dam and the George Washington Bridge. A good argument could be made that one of the things that government does well is build infrastructure; certainly the founders had that in mind when one of the specific duties of government was the construction of "post roads" and other infrastructure to help commerce.

It would help Ketchikan to have a bridge connecting that city to Gravina Island. It would help Southeast to have a road connecting most of the towns there, too. It would help Alaska to have roads connecting Nome and Bethel and Barrow to Fairbanks, too. (The Knik Arm bridge would cut one hour off the trip between Anchorage and Fairbanks.)

Of course, if nothing is done, no roads are build, no bridges allowed to connect our communities with the rest of the state, most of the state will remain "nowhere." Villages will languish in poverty. Economies will have nowhere to grow. Notice that the first thing that they had to do when oil was developed at Prudhoe Bay was build a road. The road went "nowhere" until the trucks rolled up the road, built the pipeline, and put in the oil derricks.

These are not "bridges to nowhere." They're a needed part of the development of the state. We could argue about cost and design, certainly, but the need for more roads, bridges, and infrastructure here is obvious.


TOPICS: Canada; News/Current Events; US: Alaska; US: Michigan; Your Opinion/Questions
KEYWORDS: alaska; anchorage; bridges; bridgestonowhere; canada; federalspending; givemepork; givemeyourmoney; greed; iamnowhere; ketchikan; michigan; payformylifestyle; selfishness
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-100101-150151-200201-226 next last
I'm really tired of the "bridges to nowhere" stuff. This is just my opinion as someone who's been here most of my adult life.
1 posted on 11/16/2005 3:56:15 PM PST by redpoll
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: redpoll
You chose to live in a remote part of the country. In a budget crunch, why should the rest of America pay to let you live in a remote village?

Grow up. If you want a bridge to connect you to Anchorage, get Alaska to pay for it. It isn't New York's job to pay for your infrastructure. I still pay tolls on my bridges and highways.

2 posted on 11/16/2005 3:59:00 PM PST by jude24 ("Thy law is written on the hearts of men, which iniquity itself effaces not." - St. Augustine)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: redpoll
There is no "nowhere" in Alaska. It's truly God's country. Too bad the British didn't buy it for Canada, when Russia put it on Ebay.
3 posted on 11/16/2005 4:00:38 PM PST by USFRIENDINVICTORIA (")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: redpoll
tough. You chose to live there. You get the benefits of living there. You want a damn bridge, build it with your own damn money.

Un freaking believable.
4 posted on 11/16/2005 4:01:12 PM PST by flashbunny (LOCKBOX: Where most republicans keep their gonads after they arrive in Washington D.C.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: redpoll

Should first be a toll ferry paid by users. If growth indicates the need for a bridge, make it a toll bridge paid for by the users. The Causeway and Crescent City Connection in New Orleans are both structures built and paid for with toll fares, plus we have toll ferries up and down the river.


5 posted on 11/16/2005 4:04:38 PM PST by Kirkwood
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: redpoll
The Mackinac Straits bridge went from lower Michigan to "nowhere."

It still does.

6 posted on 11/16/2005 4:04:38 PM PST by Willie Green (Go Pat Go!!!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: jude24; redpoll
why should the rest of America pay to let you live in a remote village?

If I'm remembering correctly, this money was from the federal portion of Alaska's gasoline tax and as transportation money couldn't be spent on other budget items.

redpoll, is that even close to being correct? :)

7 posted on 11/16/2005 4:04:45 PM PST by DumpsterDiver
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: jude24

Remote villages don't stay that way once they are part of the larger economy. I agree with you about paying tolls, too. However, the taxes from Alaskan oil DO pay for your roads and bridges, in part. We're all Americans.


8 posted on 11/16/2005 4:04:52 PM PST by redpoll (redpoll)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: DumpsterDiver

Yeah, I think it was specially earmarked for that purpose.


9 posted on 11/16/2005 4:06:00 PM PST by redpoll (redpoll)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: redpoll

Need em so bad? Try tapping into that 30 BILLION pile of dough Alaska is sitting on.


10 posted on 11/16/2005 4:06:16 PM PST by Kozak (Anti Shahada: " There is no God named Allah, and Muhammed is his False Prophet")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: redpoll

"We're all Americans."

And platitudes make pork alright!


11 posted on 11/16/2005 4:06:20 PM PST by flashbunny (LOCKBOX: Where most republicans keep their gonads after they arrive in Washington D.C.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: redpoll
They're a needed part of the development of the state.

Sounds like an issue for Alaskans. Let me know how it works out, but don't ask me to pay for it.

12 posted on 11/16/2005 4:06:58 PM PST by SittinYonder (Flea, feather, bird, egg, nest, twig, branch, limb, tree, and the bog down in the valley - o.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

Comment #13 Removed by Moderator

To: redpoll
All right, you convinced me. I actually wish more of your state was available by road. It's beautiful, but just way too hard to get around. Mostly, I blamed environmentalists for this, but I had never really thought through the infrastructure and ROI issues. Probably we could recover some of those investment costs over the long run by being able to better utilize, appreciate and enjoy those resources if we could actually visit them without the danger and expense of small aircraft.

However, there are still some awfully scary pieces of pork in the highway bill which would not stand up to the slightest scrutiny.
14 posted on 11/16/2005 4:09:01 PM PST by Wiseghy (Discontent is the want of self-reliance: it is infirmity of will. – Ralph Waldo Emerson)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Kirkwood

No arguments here - now we're talking about what the infrastructure should be. Make it available. Ferry, drawbridge, causeway, toll bridge - all these are good ideas. Development and economic growth are generally good for people, and you need infrastructure to do it.


15 posted on 11/16/2005 4:09:05 PM PST by redpoll (redpoll)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: Kozak

"Try tapping into that 30 BILLION pile of dough Alaska is sitting on."

Doesn't every man, woman, and child resident in Alaska get a check from the state government every year (from oil and gas royalties, I believe)?


16 posted on 11/16/2005 4:09:09 PM PST by labard1
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: USFRIENDINVICTORIA

LOL! That is very good.


17 posted on 11/16/2005 4:09:58 PM PST by Arioch7
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: SittinYonder

You know, things would be realy great if we could connect all the islands in hawaii to each other. And then connect hawaii to the mainland US.

After all, we're all americans, so we should spend countless millions of dollars to connect all these places so they too can have proper economic development.

What the heck, is this DU now???


18 posted on 11/16/2005 4:10:24 PM PST by flashbunny (LOCKBOX: Where most republicans keep their gonads after they arrive in Washington D.C.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: Wiseghy

wow, you're easily convinced.


19 posted on 11/16/2005 4:11:27 PM PST by flashbunny (LOCKBOX: Where most republicans keep their gonads after they arrive in Washington D.C.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: redpoll

So should every remote village get $250 million in taxpayer funds, or are you special?


20 posted on 11/16/2005 4:12:54 PM PST by ThinkDifferent (I am a leaf on the wind)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Willie Green
The Mackinac Straits bridge went from lower Michigan to "nowhere."

It still does.

Without federal funds.

21 posted on 11/16/2005 4:13:03 PM PST by Mark was here (How can they be called "Homeless" if their home is a field?.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: labard1

Yes they do:

http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3787/is_200409/ai_n9426824

$658 million in 2003. They could build a bunch of bridges to nowhere if they wanted to - if it really was so vital to the economic development of their state, they would.

Instead, they want everyone else to pay for it.


22 posted on 11/16/2005 4:14:12 PM PST by flashbunny (LOCKBOX: Where most republicans keep their gonads after they arrive in Washington D.C.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: Wiseghy

The environmentalists share a lot of the blame for keeping our state unroaded. They want to see me living in "untouched wilderness" or some such crap. It hasn't been untouched since the ancestors of the Athabascans got here 15,000 years ago. On the other hand - why the hell couldn't they have just built a small drawbridge across the Narrows? I liked that idea of a toll ferry like they have in Puget Sound, too. One of the reasons why I think these bridges have gotten so much grief is the imperial overreach of Don Young and Ted Stevens.


23 posted on 11/16/2005 4:15:13 PM PST by redpoll (redpoll)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: ThinkDifferent

well, "we're all americans", but alaska is special because oil is pumped there. So it deserves this.

But remember, "we're all americans".


24 posted on 11/16/2005 4:15:35 PM PST by flashbunny (LOCKBOX: Where most republicans keep their gonads after they arrive in Washington D.C.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

To: redpoll
The village where I'm typing this is 280 miles from the nearest road. As a result, a trip to Wal-Mart costs me $500 on a small plane to Fairbanks. A gallon of milk costs $12 at the local grocery store. Gas is running at $4.20 a gallon.

So move already, whiner!

25 posted on 11/16/2005 4:16:51 PM PST by rogue yam
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: flashbunny
I believe the amount of money Alaska pays to the US Treasury in oil taxes and mining taxes would more than pay for the bridges. IIRC the state gets 10% of the oil taxes while the Fed. gets 90%. Again, if I'm correct, it begs the question of where the 90% went; Alaska banked part of theirs. This isn't a zero sum game, more development would bring in more taxes, causing more growth, getting more tax money, etc.,eventually offsetting the short term investment. These are well worthwhile.
batch
26 posted on 11/16/2005 4:18:08 PM PST by batch
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: batch

So never, ever complain about congressional spending or pork again.

Anyone defending this boondoggle has lost the right to ever complain about wasteful goverment spending in the future. It is beyond comprehension.


27 posted on 11/16/2005 4:19:30 PM PST by flashbunny (LOCKBOX: Where most republicans keep their gonads after they arrive in Washington D.C.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 26 | View Replies]

To: Kozak

"Need em so bad? Try tapping into that 30 BILLION pile of dough Alaska is sitting on"

I hope you're talking about the ANWAR oil reserve. We'd LOVE to tap into that if the lower 48 would LET US! How'd you like to live in a State where President Carter put 79% of your state into one big National Park Reserve!!! We don't have roads between our villages because most of the inbetween is parks. What percentage of the population of the lower 48, let alone the WORLD will ever see ANWAR? I've seen it. A huge muskeg. That's swamp for those of you who don't know.


28 posted on 11/16/2005 4:19:52 PM PST by Integrityrocks
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: DumpsterDiver
Alaska ranks 47th in population, it's receiving more earmarked federal highway money than all the other states except California and Illinois.

Near bye in Washington they are getting about $84 per capita in the special "earmarked" projects, compared with $1,448 for each Alaskan.
29 posted on 11/16/2005 4:21:12 PM PST by grjr21
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: redpoll
The taxes from Alaskan oil DO pay for your roads and bridges, in part

Alaskan oil is hardly the majority of America's oil. Around here, most of our gasoline comes from Canadian crude.

30 posted on 11/16/2005 4:22:28 PM PST by jude24 ("Thy law is written on the hearts of men, which iniquity itself effaces not." - St. Augustine)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: labard1

Yes we do. A small portion of the State's Permanent Fund is invested in the stock market and we share the profits (and loss.) World bankers wish they had thought of that with the Federal Budgets.


31 posted on 11/16/2005 4:29:51 PM PST by Integrityrocks
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: redpoll

OK! Then, I will continue to blame environmentalists for keeping out the roads.

Honestly, I fail to grasp how keeping people out completely "protects" anything. I love the outdoors, but the shear size of the expanses there make it nearly impossible to get out to appreciate such a great natural resource, even for a "low impact" hiker like myself.


32 posted on 11/16/2005 4:29:57 PM PST by Wiseghy (Discontent is the want of self-reliance: it is infirmity of will. – Ralph Waldo Emerson)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 23 | View Replies]

To: redpoll
Simple question were is the State of Alaska Oil revenue in this

And you point is valid if in fact the bridge is opening up a large chunk of prime land that is now unusable...after all New Orleans and a good part of the gulf coast is “nowhere” right now it unusable land until the infrastructure is built/rebuilt…

Built a bridge to prime land is far more logical that building a levy around a swamp to keep it dry or building bridge and roads and orher public infrastructure below what is hurricane storm surge line

33 posted on 11/16/2005 4:30:41 PM PST by tophat9000 (CA politics …San Andres Fault is now the San Andres Fix)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: redpoll

You are nuts if you think that the IRS should take my tax dollars at gunpoint so 50 of your state citizens can have a bridge to get off their island.

I don't mind Alaska getting its share of the federal pie ( though I'd prefer if we just did away with the federal pie entirely ). But its going to have to have some purpose. For that kind of capital investment of my tax dollars I demand a better return that 50 people being happy about it.

Good Lord.


34 posted on 11/16/2005 4:32:13 PM PST by festus (The constitution may be flawed but its a whole lot better than what we have now.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: redpoll

Redpoll: Vote in Sara Pahlen. She'll get the roads built. I'm with you re: the environmentalist. If they would leave us alone in Alaska, we'd build our roads with all the money going to keeping the state one big national park. People down south just can not comprehend Alaska is three times the size of Texas and a state the size of Massechusetts has 100 times more roads than us. Multiply Texas 3 times and give them three roads.


35 posted on 11/16/2005 4:34:56 PM PST by Integrityrocks
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 23 | View Replies]

To: festus

"though I'd prefer if we just did away with the federal pie entirely "

That's the conservative position, but too often it is lost around here.

Instead of saying "why is the government taking my tax money on gas and then making me beg for it back?", people are asking "why can't we have our pork, too? Damn it, we can come up with agood reason for it! If we spend $250 million, it might produce an extra $2 million a year in economic activity!!!"

I think people really need to re-examine what they believe in and get back to the basics, instead of arguing about how THIS pork or THAT pork is justifiable because "gee, we really could use it!".


36 posted on 11/16/2005 4:36:09 PM PST by flashbunny (LOCKBOX: Where most republicans keep their gonads after they arrive in Washington D.C.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 34 | View Replies]

To: flashbunny

Most Alaskas do not want the Federal Pork that we get. What we would prefer is to allow us to develop our natural resources. If we could log our trees, fish our fish, hunt our game, use our coal, dig the gold and iron and drill our OIL, we would never need a dime of Federal money. Its EXACTLY why congress allways gives Alaska so much. They are BUYING the priviledge of keeping the entire state one big park that we can't develop. So, THAT's why our tiny little population can't support ourselves. The environmentalist and congress won't let us develop our resources!


37 posted on 11/16/2005 4:39:39 PM PST by Integrityrocks
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 36 | View Replies]

To: redpoll

It seem everyone here is falling for this "Bridge to nowhere" line. It is so easy to lie with statistics. Any statistic about Alaska can be made to look very bad if you divide by population. Try looking at spending per mile of coastline and reality is put into perspective (Alaska has 6 times the coastline of the lower 48 states) we come out dead last when it come to federal spending on ports, bridges, and harbors. This trick has been used by the liberals for years to make a good conservative like Senator Stevens look like a pork monger.
Another frequently used trick is to compare federal spending with " income tax revenue", where it is easy to show that the feds spend a lot more than comes in from "taxes" due to the tiny population here. It is easy to conveniently ignore the millions upon millions of dollars in natural resource revenues (technically not taxes in libspeak) from the oil, mining and fishing industries. (Federal leasing fees from ANWR alone are projected to be 2.6 BILLION dollars from the 90% federal share).

Most Alaskans are used to this. We have our own "Hate Stevens" crowd of liberals here, kind of a subset of the hate Bush/Hate America type that would love nothing better than to see Stevens replaced with a liberal like Tony Knowles.

Even if you don,t believe me take heart, the envirowackos and their New York lawyers will be on this project like flies on feces and the likely-hood is that it will be shut down for "environmental" reasons (we might have the audacity to develop some of the "pristine wilderness" on Gravinia island). and we will spend millions (of state money) to fight it. and as in most cases where we try to develop things here, loose.

Let the Alaskans develop their land and resources (and keep the revenue) and there would no need for any federal spending here.


38 posted on 11/16/2005 4:40:25 PM PST by Species8472
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: redpoll

Pay for your own bridges. And Boston should pay for their own whole in the ground. All pork is wasteful crap.

I don't my state taking it either. If we, as citizens of my state, decide we want something we should raise the money ourselves or do without.


39 posted on 11/16/2005 4:42:30 PM PST by Fledermaus (Don't Ever Make Our Constituents Realize Any Truth)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Species8472

"Let the Alaskans develop their land and resources (and keep the revenue) and there would no need for any federal spending here."

Well... there's two of us with that vote!


40 posted on 11/16/2005 4:43:02 PM PST by Integrityrocks
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 38 | View Replies]

To: redpoll

Also, why don't you just spend your state's one year payoff of oil royalties given to every citizen? It's the cost of the bridge.


41 posted on 11/16/2005 4:44:31 PM PST by Fledermaus (Don't Ever Make Our Constituents Realize Any Truth)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Willie Green

You do know that the Mackinac Bridge was financed entirely in the private bond market and that it operates at a profit, don't you?


42 posted on 11/16/2005 4:45:46 PM PST by Mr. Lucky
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: Fledermaus

Because we need it to pay for our $4.00 per gal fuel costs. What is your auto fuel costing these days?


43 posted on 11/16/2005 4:47:35 PM PST by Integrityrocks
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 41 | View Replies]

To: Species8472

"Let the Alaskans develop their land and resources (and keep the revenue) and there would no need for any federal spending here. "

Then fight for that, instead of defending the indefensible.


44 posted on 11/16/2005 4:48:32 PM PST by flashbunny (LOCKBOX: Where most republicans keep their gonads after they arrive in Washington D.C.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 38 | View Replies]

To: Integrityrocks

It was $3.25 until a few weeks ago.

Start voting for Dems...you whine just like one.


45 posted on 11/16/2005 4:50:02 PM PST by Fledermaus (Don't Ever Make Our Constituents Realize Any Truth)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 43 | View Replies]

To: redpoll

You're just an easy target. Have no doubt that the people who are criticizing you on this thread are represented by people who are bringing home pork to their districts as well.


46 posted on 11/16/2005 4:54:00 PM PST by andyk (Fear my strategery of misunderestimation.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: redpoll

Isn't there a cheaper way to do it than to build a $250 million bridge?


47 posted on 11/16/2005 4:55:15 PM PST by thoughtomator (Bring Back HCUA!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Integrityrocks

I didn't realize you were forced to live in alaska.

Apparently they are the only state that doesn't allow its citizens to leave and go to a place with cheaper gas and more roads. Instead they are forced to complain that they're not getting enough pork spending.


48 posted on 11/16/2005 4:55:28 PM PST by flashbunny (LOCKBOX: Where most republicans keep their gonads after they arrive in Washington D.C.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 43 | View Replies]

To: thoughtomator

"cheaper" doesn't buy enough votes!


49 posted on 11/16/2005 4:55:52 PM PST by flashbunny (LOCKBOX: Where most republicans keep their gonads after they arrive in Washington D.C.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 47 | View Replies]

To: redpoll

Acquiring Alaska was a strategic move for an earlier time when foot soldiers were a greater threat; later, the natural resources proved to be of considerable value so development followed along the cost/benefit trail.

Now, we're stuck with a vocal set of freeloaders represented by some relocated professional politicians dreaming of sunshine while apparently addicted to moonshine; the place ain't livable, give it up, already. :)


50 posted on 11/16/2005 4:56:11 PM PST by Old Professer (Fix the problem, not the blame!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]


Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-100101-150151-200201-226 next last

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson