John McCain rips Ted Stevens' bridge to nowhere
"What do you think we could have done with that $233 million that we spent to go to the bridge to nowhere - bridge to nowhere."
August 4, 2007 - Washington, DC - Senator John McCain said Saturday that Congress should share some of the blame for the collapse of the bridge in Minnesota, because of the diversion of money meant for transportation spending that goes to pet projects like Alaska Senator Ted Stevens' infamous bridge to nowhere.
McCain, a fellow Republican, drew comparisons between the collapsed Minneapolis bridge and the most famous bridge in the annals of Washington pork: the so-called "bridge to nowhere" in Alaska.
"Clearly inspections of bridges are needed and that's why the Department of Transportation has ordered them," the GOP presidential candidate said. "That we have to spend 233 million of those dollars earmarked for transportation, that are already intended for transportation, on an outrageous earmark of a 233 million dollar bridge in Alaska to an island with 50 people on it, its an argument for reforming this broken system of corruption and earmarking in Washington."
"Maybe, maybe the 200,000 people who cross that bridge every day would have been safer than spending 233 million of your tax dollars on a bridge in Alaska on an island with 50 people on it," he said, visibly upset. "What do you think we could have done with that $233 million that we spent to go to the bridge to nowhere - bridge to nowhere."
McCain said that money should have been used to fund inspections and repairs of the nation's infrastructure.
"I'm angry today because we just had a chance to reform this process in Washington and we punted," said McCain. "We pushed off on the American people a joke and a sham in the name of earmark reform."
"We just completed a joke and a sham on the American people with pretended reform that we just passed," said McCain. "It does not attack seriously the earmark."
"That's what's bred the corruption in Washington, that's what's caused members of Congress to be in jail," said McCain. "The most egregious of these pork barrel projects are on highway bills which are intended not for bridges to nowhere, not for museums, not for bike paths, but to make transportation safe and available to all Americans."
McCain has been a vocal critic of "ear marks", narrowly targeted projects that members of Congress tuck into appropriations bills. Alaska Senator Ted Stevens, faced criticism for an appropriation of 233 million dollars to build a bridge in an area of his state with a small population.
McCain made the comments to local reporters on Saturday in Ankeny, Iowa following a town hall meeting. He is due to participate in a debate Sunday with the other Republican presidential candidates in Des Moines.
© AlaskaReport News
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