Celtic Diva's Blue Oasis: Alaska "Pork" - it works for me!

Monday, August 01, 2005

Alaska "Pork" - it works for me!

Do you know why it works for me? Because so many damn politicians, activists, etc...think they know what's best for us in Alaska!

They want to develop our land or they want to preserve our land from development.

They want to make sure there are enough trophy animals up here for them to kill on their vacations or they want to interfere with whatever wildlife management plan we come up with.

They want to ban trapping and the fur trade.

They want a larger percentage of whatever oil is extracted from Alaska wells.

Left, Right, Conservative, Liberal...it doesn't matter because EVERYONE in the lower-48 seems to think they know better how to manage our affairs than we do! I mean, are we as a country totally obsessed with the same number of issues in Kansas? Idaho? I think not!

So...fine...if they want to interfere, then they can pay for it!

Congress passed a $286.4 billion highway and mass transit bill covering road, rail, waterway and bridge construction projects from now until 2009. $200 million of that is earmarked for the Knik Bridge - opening a second and much faster thoroughfaire to and from the Mat-Su Valley.

A group called "Taxpayers for Common Sense" is stringently objecting to the bridge. This is a reprint of an email I sent to Keith Ashdown of that organization regarding his blatant misinformation:
Mr. Ashdown:

The state of Alaska has ONE (1) highway connecting Anchorage with the rest of the state.

Let me repeat that – ONE (1) highway.

As it stands, our population is growing. To do so requires that housing spread north along that ONE (1) highway. Rush hour has become unbearable at times…an accident keeps folks from getting to work or getting home for hours. In case you still don’t get it…they can’t get home BECAUSE THERE IS NO ALTERNATIVE to that road.

The bridge over Knik Arm (which will be named after Don Young who has been a Congressman up here probably longer than you’ve been alive) will connect Anchorage with the Mat Su Valley through Point MacKenzie along Knik/Goose Bay Road. This will be salvation to the Valley in two ways:

1) It will provide a second, faster way for commuters to get to Anchorage.
2) It will open up a large area for housing and business development which, until now, was too far away to be lucrative.

I know this is hard for you to comprehend since there is NO PLACE down there that is actually undeveloped or suffers from a severe lack of roads. We are a state with almost no roads. Juneau, our capital, doesn’t even have a road connecting it with the rest of the continent (and I understand you folks are bitching about that potential expenditure, aren’t you?) I’m sure that you find it “quaint” that the only way to get around in most of this state is by 3 and 4-wheeler, or in the winter, snow machine. However, we find it damn inconvenient and an impediment to basics like electricity and running water.

Our options are extremely limited due to topography and environmental concerns as to where we can put other road connections. Your alleged "bridge to nowhere" would connect us to the Knik-Goose Bay Road in the Mat-Su Valley which is now a long drive-time from Anchorage. With the bridge, the area along the road would acheive rapid business development and the population that lives there would multiply into thriving community areas.

Oh and by the way, all of the people who live in that area (and I know a few) REALLY appreciate knowing that they live "nowhere."

We are a state like every other state. We’d like to be able to have decent transportation like every other state without having to kiss your asses for it. And ya know what, since we provide a big chunk of the oil produced in the U.S., we’re entitled.

By the way, the bridge is expensive due to wetland protections and other environmental restrictions. I guess that’s the trade off for those of you in the lower-48 “knowing best” what’s good for Alaska, isn’t it?

So before you have any more bright ideas on what we need and don’t need, why don’t you bring your uninformed butt up here? I’m sure SOMEONE would give you a tour.
By the way, on Friday, a source involved with the Knik Bridge construction told me that a large infusion of money came in - about $280 million - towards the project. However, the environmental plan must be finalized over the next several weeks and there could be some major (and extremely expensive) environmental roadblocks (i.e. FUDS-type cleanups) necessary to overcome before the project can even get started. Solving those issues will require much behind-the-scenes manuevering by good old Uncle Ted (for those who don't know - that means Senator Ted Stevens). Other sources close to the project think that the $600 million pricetag that is frequently quoted is extremely conservative - that doubling that figure is closer to the mark.

Much of this information should be hitting the fan later today among the parties involved - whether it becomes public other than on this blog remains to be seen. (I love my sources!)

So, do I think that the project should still continue?

If it were Washington or California or any other state in the lower-48, it wouldn't even be a question.


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