The late Senator Ted Stevens was once mocked for the “bridge to nowhere” — a massive construction project that would have connected the town of Ketchikan, Alaska with Gravina Island — with 50 residents. Now, during an economic crisis and painful cutbacks, Rep. John L. Mica, chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, is pushing through a $1.2 billion rail line that is expected to serve just 2,150 commuters a day.
The SunRail project has been widely denounced as a giveaway to Mica’s campaign donor, CSX, which will receive hundreds of millions for its rail line and upgrades. When confronted over the CSX windfall, Mica responded “Everybody has different vested interests. But you look at what is being proposed on paper, and it just make sense.” The problem is that a wide array of Republicans and Democrats have looked at the project (as well as federal officials) and found it to be wasteful.
Yet, even at this time of tremendous budget cutbacks and suffering, our Congress is still incapable of blocking such pet projects. If you recall, the solution to Stevens’ absurd bridge showed how out of touch our leaders have become. In proclaiming the end of the bridge to nowhere and congratulating themselves on actually stopping a single wasteful project, Democratic and Republican leaders promised to let Alaska keep the money. Problem solved.
Source: NY Times