Bridges to Nowhere Update


I’ve noted before that the original bete noir of the anti-earmark movement, the Alaska Bridges to Nowhere, were alive and well and still receiving federal funding. Today Matt Volz of the Associated Press reports that in May 2006, the Alaska state legislature approved spending $93 million in federal money on the Knik Arm Bridge (the official site for the bridge authority is here), and then, a month later, the board of the bridge authority voted, in a closed-door meeting–some fairly large pay raises for its top executives:

JUNEAU — The top three executives of a bridge authority created by the state to span the Knik Arm received sizable pay hikes soon after securing an influx of state and federal money for the project.

The pay raises were approved after a closed-door meeting of the Knik Arm Bridge and Toll Authority’s board in June. The salaries of executive director Henry Springer and deputy executive director of corporate affairs Darryl Jordan went up to $130,000 each from $104,496 and $90,324, respectively. Chief financial officer Kevin Hemenway’s pay rose to $129,000 from $90,324.

The project, of course, is still moving ahead:

Planning and construction of the bridge itself cannot begin until an environmental impact statement is completed, which is expected to be done by next spring. A draft impact statement was released this month, Jordan said.

The authority’s official estimates to build the bridge is $450 million to $550 million. That is lower than previous estimates because the state Legislature included a separate allocation this year for road improvements on the Matanuska-Susitna Borough side of the project, Jordan said.

Apparently, when it comes to pork spending, it’s “forgotten, but not gone,” rather than the other way around…