Over-Stimulated: Alaskan Town of Receives Over $400,000 Per Person for Airport to Nowhere

180px-Eskimo_Family_NGM-v31-p564-2Many of us have been complaining that the Democrats and Republicans have used the economic crisis as an excuse to spend wildly in the stimulus package — pushing our deficit to unprecedented levels. If you are looking for an example, you need to look no further than the “airport to nowhere” in Takotna — population 46. The village is slated to received $18.7 million for an airstrip — or over $400,000 per person. For that money, we could have simply moved them to their own beach house or their own village of Takotna.

What is particularly humorous is that some defenders insist that Takotna’s population can surge to as high as 61. That would come to roughly $300,000 a person. When former Governor Sarah Palin speaks of dangers of government handouts and subsidies, this must be what she is talking about.

The Institute for Social and Economic Research at the University of Alaska estimates that about $1.4 billion a year in state and federal government subsidies, purchases and wages goes to more than 200 remote villages in the Alaska. President Obama’s budget includes for example $42 million in plumbing contracts for remote villages.

Nobody actually knows how many people live in Takotna. Here is the official Alaskan description:

During the 2000 U.S. Census, total housing units numbered 49, and vacant housing units numbered 30. Vacant housing units used only seasonally numbered 9. U.S. Census data for Year 2000 showed 12 residents as employed. The unemployment rate at that time was 0 percent, although 58.62 percent of all adults were not in the work force. The median household income was $14,583, per capita income was $13,143, and 16.22 percent of residents were living below the poverty level.

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6 thoughts on “Over-Stimulated: Alaskan Town of Receives Over $400,000 Per Person for Airport to Nowhere”

  1. pt2

    Who knows what the road is for or who it will benefit? Takotna is a checkpoint on the Iditarod Trail. During the race, the town volunteers to cook, clean and provide housing for mushers and their dogs or this might be a legacy of the cold war. There’s a good discussion on the matter here including a picture of the proposed site:



  2. The problem with the villages most Alaskan Natives live in is that they were never meant to be year-round towns, they were seasonal villages in use during the non-hunting/fishing season. Once the land/fishing grounds were usurped and the semi-nomadic way of life became non-existent the villages became a permanent town and require the utilities taken fore granted in the rest of the State and nation.

    That doesn’t even cover the villages that were built after the North Slope ‘sale’ and the relocation to villages of people displaced by the pollution and accidents the oil and mining companies bestowed (think Exon-Valdez) which wiped out the way of life for entire clans and ‘tribes’. This grand theft and despoliation of the land (which will heavily impact the Native population goes on unnoticed today :


    There are few jobs, inferior education, no ready resources (heavy restrictions on taking game to allow a subsistence way of life) that they have access to, and at every opportunity and need they are ignored or used as a political lever to extract money from the Federal Government that seldom trickles down to them.

    Last winter there were airlifts of donated food to a number of villages by grassroots organizations because Ms. Sara didn’t bother to employ the States resources to do it. Shortages that were forcing people to the brink in December of ’08 weren’t acted upon until February of ’09 by Ms. Palin and then it was mostly foto-ops piggybacked on private charitable airlifts and raising the game limit to 1 more Moose per hunter.


  3. Idyllic Dog Sledding. Maybe a Helicopter Service but an Airport where planes have crashed, makes no sense to me.

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