When your bid to build a bridge to nowhere
is shut down, try to get federal funding for another bridge, to a different part of nowhere â where your friends own property.
John Stanton of Roll Call wrote a great story
(Sub. Req.) that parses out the likely motivations for the Alaska Congressional delegationâs work over the last few months to snag federal cash for a bridge to connect an area where no one lives to Anchorage.
Why bother to invest in infrastructure to nowhere?
Well, it could make the remote area, called âKnik Arm,â a major suburb, but more importantly, folks with familial and political ties to Republican Rep. Don Young and Sens. Ted Stevens and Lisa Murkowski would profit:
If the area is successfully developed, that could mean a significant windfall for a number of people close to the Congressional delegation â including Youngâs daughter, Joni, Stevensâ chief of staff and campaign manager and Murkowskiâs state director â some of whom purchased land in the area just a few months before then-Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Young began substantive work on a massive highway bill in early 2003.
Here's more from Roll Call:
According to land records compiled by the Matanuska-Susitna Borough, Senate financial disclosure forms and published accounts, Stevensâ current Chief of Staff George Lowe owns a 2.6 acre parcel of undeveloped land on the Knik Arm, which he purchased in December 2004 from the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority, according to a copy of the deed.
Former Stevens aide Lisa Sutherland also stands to see significant financial gain from the development of Knik Arm. Sutherland, a close confidante of Stevens, worked for the lawmaker from 1977 until this March in a variety of capacities, including deputy staff director on the Appropriations Committee and then staff director on the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. Sutherland left the Senate payroll in March to work full time on Stevensâ re-election campaign.