By now, I’m sure you’ve heard about the $398 million dollar “Bridge to Nowhere” in Ketchikan Alaska. It was the pet project of Sen. Ted Stevens. Stevens and his leadership PAC, Northern Lights, donated $19,785 to Kansas Senator Pat Roberts. And, after 40 years in Washington, Pat Roberts was willing to take money from his friend, Sen. Ted Stevens, then vote for Stevens’ pork barrel spending pet project, “The Bridge to Nowhere.”
A not so ethical Roberts is a member of the Senate Ethics Committee.
The Gravina Island Bridge was a proposed bridge to replace the ferry that currently connects the city and borough of Ketchikan, Alaska, to the Ketchikan International Airport on Gravina Island. The members of the Alaskan congressional delegation, namely Rep. Don Young and Sen. Ted Stevens, were the bridge’s biggest advocates in congress and helped push for the funding. Ketchikan probably deserves a better way to get to the airport on the island rather than a ferry but a $400 million bridge isn’t the answer.According to USA Today, the bridge was to have been nearly as long as the Golden Gate Bridge and taller than the Brooklyn Bridge. Ketchikan’s primary industry is tourism, so the bridge was designed to be tall enough to accommodate the cruise ships which frequent the Alaskan waters during the summer. Ketchikan has a population of about 7,600. Only a handful of people live on Gravina Island.
Ted Stevens, the longest-serving Republican senator in history had been indicted on charges that he hid $250,000 in gifts from an oil company looking for favors.
Now, there’s an arrest warrant out for the 84-year-old senator. He’s been stripped of his top committee rankings. His career is crumbling. His hopes for reelection are in serious doubt.
The indictment charges Stevens with failing to report on his financial disclosure forms $250,000 in “things of value” including remodeling work on his home, a Viking grill and a sweetheart deal on a Land Rover.
The indictment further alleges that “during the same time he was concealing his continued receipt of these things of value from VECO and [VECO executive Bill J.] Allen,” that Stevens “received solicitations for official actions from Allen and other VECO employees, and that Sen. Stevens used his position and office on behalf of VECO during that same time period.”
Stevens is a former Senate Appropriations Committee chairman who has funneled billions of dollars in earmarks and federal funds back to his home state, but he become the butt of jokes over the so-called “bridge to nowhere” earmark that became a symbol of Washington excess.
All those folks currently serving in Congress need to be replaced. Not a one of them will get my vote.