Fact Sheets

The Gravina Access Project: A Bridge to Nowhere

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February 09, 2005

Recipient of the TCS "Golden Fleece Award in 2003 (Read the award write-up)

Project Update (September 2007): After many years of negative attention, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin announced that the State would finally abandon efforts to build the Gravina Access Project. Read on to learn more about this wasteful project.

Project Update (November 2005): As the result of public press and negative media attention, Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) and Rep. Don Young (R-AK) agreed to release the obligation that Alaska use the money earmarked in the transportation bill for the Bridge to Nowhere and Don Young's Way (formerly called Knik Arm Bridge). Alaska will still receive the money, however, and can, if it wishes, build one or both bridges.

Click Here to read about this most recent development.

Project Update (October 2005): Rep. Don Young (R-AK) secured a total of $1 billion for Alaska in the transportation bill, including $231 million for the Gravina Island "bridge to nowhere" in Ketchikan. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) attempted to amend the fiscal year 2006 transportation spending bill and remove funding for this bridge and Don Young's Way (formerly Knik Arm Bridge) in Anchorage and commit this funding to rebuilding the Interstate 10 bridge over Lake Ponchartrain in Louisiana. His amendment failed 85-12.

The Gravina Access Project: A Bridge To Nowhere

February 9, 2005

Rep. Don Young (R-AK) is trying to sell America's taxpayers a $315 million "bridge to nowhere" in rural Alaska. As Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, he is in a very good position to get his way. But Rep. Young should be stopped from using his political clout to force federal taxpayers to pay for a bridge that is ridiculous in its scope, unjustified on its merits, and far too expensive for taxpayers to swallow at a time of record federal deficits.

If Rep. Young succeeds, tiny Ketchikan, Alaska, a town with less than 8,000 residents (about 13,000 if the entire county is included) will receive hundreds of millions of federal dollars to build a bridge to Gravina Island (population: 50). This bridge will be nearly as long as the Golden Gate Bridge and taller than the Brooklyn Bridge.

The Gravina Bridge would replace a 7-minute ferry ride from Ketchikan to Ketchikan Airport on Gravina Island. Project proponents tell the public that the bridge is a transportation necessity, though the ferry system adequately handles passenger traffic between the islands, including traffic to and from the airport. Some herald the project as the savior of Ketchikan because it will open up land on Pennock Island to residential development, despite the fact that Ketchikan's population has been shrinking.

Project Costs

In September 2004, the U.S. Department of Transportation released its decision on the Gravina Access Project, and chose the most expensive alternative as the preferred project. The official cost estimate at the time was $230 million. Recently, the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (DOT&PF) increased the estimate for the project...

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Filed under: Stop Waste

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