Letters to the Editor

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POLITICS: GOP’s OK with ‘bridge to nowhere’?

Letter by Arthur L. Snider, Tacoma on March 8, 2011 at 9:38 am with 32 Comments »
March 8, 2011 10:55 am

Part of the Republicans’ proposal to cut $60 billion from the federal budget includes a $600 million funding cut for border security. Yet last week House Republicans – including South Sound Reps. Dave Reichert and Jaime Herrera Beutler (TNT, 3-6) – defeated Democrats’ effort to cancel $183 million earmarked for the so-called “bridge to nowhere” in Alaska.

Yes, it’s the same bridge that brought attention to the disgusting waste in D.C. several years ago. And now it’s going to be built, thanks to the Republicans. Now that’s what I call having one’s priorities in order.

Leave a comment Comments → 32
  1. Sounds like an earmark to me.

  2. Could someone link the article the writer referenced please? I couldn’t find it and it would be worth the read.

  3. Is that still on the table? Really? I visited a friend in Juneau years ago and I remember him mentioning it. I don’t remember exactly when that was, but I would have thought for sure that project was either done or dead by now.

  4. BlaineCGarver says:

    This needs “A Rest Of The Story”…..I don’t believe the facts of this OP at all. Anyway, it’s a good time to mention that bills in congress should be One Issue Only, period.

  5. GHTaxPayer says:

    Does the author have issues with the Stimulus package and its complete flushing of $900 BILLION dollars down the drain for multiple “bridges to nowhere” and bailouts for corrupt public unions?

    Did the author get upset when he found out that Obama & Democrats hid $105 BILLION in funding to Obamacare, and also double counted the $500 Billion in cuts to Medicare to achieve a favorable CBO score?

    Does Mr. Snider blame Christine Gregoire and WA Democrats for taking a $180 Million SURPLUS and turning it into an $800 Million DEFICIT in only a couple years by giving huge raises to the corrupt public unions?

    If he doesn’t have problems with the massive runaway deficit spending of the DEMOCRATS, then he’s just a partisan hack.

  6. BGC – I to would like to know more of the back story.

    OGHTax – One Issue Only – I agree with you. And the same should apply to any and all amenments offered to the bill.

  7. Fibonacci says:

    Does this mean you are OK with the bridge to nowhere? This is an example of something beingt wrong and instead of admiting it the argument is “Oh yeah, well look what the ______ party did” It solves nothing.

    “$180 million SURPLUS to an $800 million DEFiCIT” by giving huge raises to the pulic employees. Are you nuts? How in God’s name can you blame the ecomony of the state on raises for public employees? Do you have ANT idea of what is happening to the economy in the rest of the country and the world? Or is it all the fault of the public employees?

    People like you remind me ot the stategy of the Nazi Party. You need to find a boodie man to blame everything on., They had the Jews and you have the public empllyees.

  8. Fibonacci says:

    Geez, I guess I should check typos BEFORE pressing submit–sorry.

  9. Reichert is a disgrace to the GoP. It is well known that he is not the brightest bulb in the pack . Just look at the films of his so-called interrogation of Gary Ridgeway, it was embarrassingly dumb.
    I think the local GoP should ask him to stand down at the next election. But they may well support him by gerrymandering his district with the new 10th seat.
    What a loser !

  10. GHTaxPayer says:

    FIBONAZI – I am against funding any “Bridge To Nowhere”. In fact, I’m against federal funding of ANY bridge. The states need to maintain their bridges and roads.

    And yes, the bulk of the waste (60 – 65%) in WA deficit is in OVERpayments to public union pensions and public salaries, and the refusal of Gregoire to tax the Indian casinos, because they donate a lot of $$$ to the Demonrats.

    Gregoire and the Demonrats answer to deficits is to cut funding to schools and/or raise taxes, but NEVER to reduce the bloated public salaries and pensions.

    And the Democrats are the current home of the Socialists and Communists. NAZI stands for National Socialists.

  11. Dare we mention the State Route 16 Nalley Valley Paula Hammond memorial

    “Re-Bridge to Nowhere”?

  12. Cheryl Tucker says:


    I couldn’t find The News Tribune Roll Call online, but here’s a link to the Seattle Times’ version:


  13. JudasEscargot says:

    Couple the “Bridge to Nowhere” along with the $100 Million budgeted to promote the military with NASCAR advertising and you’ve got some real money.

    I wonder how many teachers could be funded with $300 million?

  14. Ghatax,
    your statement is about the WA budget deficits is worse than hoax and a right wing talking point, totally devoid of believability as well as validity.

    If your read the article you would find that the bill to strip the $183 million for bridge-to-no-where was a DEMOCRATIC and that ALL Washington State DEMOCRATES voted to strip the funding, while ALL Washington State REPUBLICANS voted to retain the funding.

    Cheryl – thanks and a hat tip for posting the link

  15. bobcat1a says:

    Blaine, it was a one issue bill, to strip the money for the “bridge to nowhere” from HR 662. $183 million and all of Washington’s Republican reps voted to keep it in. Some fiscal conservatives, huh?

  16. For the last few weeks every time I hear a GOP senator or representative on the tube, online, or in the paper all I hear is how we are broke and in a budget emergency. Then I see what they cut, and it’s food programs for the poor, head start, EPA and etc…

    But what they have Not cut and were given the chance to cut is the 4 billion going to oil companies each year and the notorious “bridge to nowhere”.

    So maybe this emergency is just an excuse to cut the things the GOP does
    not like. Hmmmmmm

  17. concernedtacoma7 says:

    One example compared to a wasted $1,000,000,000,000 stimulus which got us what? I see no new Hoover Dam or any great public works projects, just the biggest kickback of all time.

    And one can argue the efficiency of the $100mil Nascar sponsorship, but it is a marketing tool found to be effective. Its either they market or draft

  18. JudasEscargot says:

    “And one can argue the efficiency of the $100mil Nascar sponsorship, but it is a marketing tool found to be effective. Its either they market or draft”

    Draft. It will save $100 million, not to mention the gasoline running around in circles. It will provide an agency with real jobs and little rich boys and girls will get to serve in the military and not just the children of NASCAR followers.

    By the way, how much OTHER money is spent on military recruiting? Maybe pay the military a liveable wage and you’ll get more volunteers, especially since all the manufacturing jobs are sent to China.

  19. JudasEscargot says:

    Wanna save some REAL money?

    “According to the Department of Defense’s budget materials on their website, the combined military recruitment and advertising budget is $1,407,100,000 ($1.4 billion).”

  20. Flanagan says:

    Bridge to nowhere was from Ketchikan across the channel to Gravina Island where the airport is. That way they could eliminate the ferries. Sure made sense to me.

  21. Then let Alaska spend some of their Oil money.

  22. One only has to look at the so called budget bills being pushed by republican governors to realize budgets are not the issue. The real goals of the bills are union busting and extending the control of the governor’s office.

    The budget bill in Wisconsin was designed not only to bust the public employees union but to reorganize the state government so that all state agencies reported directly and only to the governor’s office thus bypassing all legislative and regulatory control and review.

    In Michigan, the budget bill would partially eliminate state aid to cities and towns and give the governor the power to declare the towns bankrupt, dismiss the local elected officials, and appoint an administrator to take over direct control of all local governmental functions.

  23. Thanks for pointing out the hypocrisy, Arthur.

  24. Thanks Cheryl.

    Seems there’s some misrepresentation. It’s not really to “nowhere” and the federal gas tax pays for it.

    That being said, I wish they would have voted it down.

  25. Judas — The military does provide a livable wage, at all levels. If you look up the Navy Times pay charts you’ll see the monthly base salary for all ranks, which looks pretty low on the low end. HOWEVER, what some people don’t know is that every service member also gets BAH (housing allowing) and BAS (sustenance allowance,) which are tax-free, and 100% free medical, which is worth several hundred dollars per month.

    So an E-4 with 4 years of service gets $2230.80 per month for base pay, which looks pretty bad, but he also gets $1599 per month (tax-free) to pay for housing and $325 per month (tax free) to help with food, as well as $1441 per year to buy uniforms. He’s NOT paying $400 per month for health insurance, plus co-pays and prescriptions, like he would be if he worked in the private sector. He gets to buy food and most of what he needs on base at a huge discount. Not a bad living at all for someone just 4 years into the workforce, and raises are guaranteed with promotions.

    My neighbor is a recruiter. People aren’t signing on for two reasons: 1) the war, and 2) they’re too fat to pass the minimum fitness test.

  26. Isn’t this the same bridge the Sarah Palin claimed to have turned down federal funding for (back before the ’08 election)?

    Military pay: When I enlisted my base pay was $98 a month (less the amount of the U.S. Savings Bound we all had to have). Five years later as a Sergeant E-5, my base pay was $305.

    We should not only bring back the draft but expand it to include things like the Peace Corps and Vista along with military service.

    Robert Heinlein had a intersecting slant on military service is his book ‘Starship Trooper’. Only veterans could be citizens and only citizens could vote and hold public office or government jobs. Sort of like what the Swiss had until recently.

  27. xring — I didn’t serve in the military but my dad did, so I know how poorly you guys were paid back in the day. Even with officer pay my dad brought home just enough to provide just the basics of food and clothing. He took the one car to work each day so Mom didn’t get to go out much. Vacations were camping. My mom always joked it was pretty easy to pack for their multiple moves because we didn’t have much to pack. I remember one story she told about moving back stateside from Europe with 5 small children and $9 in her purse. Dad couldn’t make the flight with the family for some reason and she had no idea how she was going to buy food. A colonel on the flight assigned each child to a soldier and everything worked out. The thing is, is that it always worked out. There wasn’t ever any extra, but back then that was normal. You guys weren’t poor, you always had enough. The poor people were the ones who didn’t have enough to eat.

  28. I didn’t retire that long ago so let me point some things out. BAS (food) and BHA (housing) allowances you only get the full amounts of these if you are married. If you are single you get reduced amounts of these or almost nothing. Most single individuals get very small amounts of BHA or BAS so for them it is just base pay. The uniform allowance is once a year and it’s only a few hundred dollars depending on your number of years of service. The commissary does have good discounts and for many young enlisted with families it is the key to survival. The base exchange has at best some good deals. The military health care has been the HMO model for a number of years now but I don’t think can really be directly compared to what many civilians have through health insurance. Especially since at most bases the health care is provided by other military personnel. That’s the basics in compensation but it is missing the biggest expense that many here have missed and that is the continued deployments. These deployments are the hardest on the young enlisted with families and have destroyed many because they could not cope. So just comparing military pay and benefits to civilian is like apples and oranges.

    As far as the draft, I would rather be deployed with someone who wants to be in the service than one that doesn’t. Having said that if there was a draft, I believe, it certainly would be a lot harder to get the public to go along with a war.

  29. afret — Check out the Navy Times pay chart. It’s on the internet. You will see that the BAH for an E-5 with no dependents is $1200 in Tacoma, vs $1599 if that soldier has dependents. Not a huge difference, especially if the soldier isn’t supporting anybody else. The BAS for an enlisted soldier is $325.04, with or without dependents. The soldiers who don’t receive BAH or BAS don’t receive it because they live on base, and don’t have to pay for rent, food, or utilities. My military friends assure me the uniform allowance is sufficient to maintain and replace uniforms as necessary.

  30. Ronniew – I guess you can read a pay chart, maybe if you served especially leading young enlisted you might have a different perspective. First when I served very few made it to E-5 in their first 4 years. Try living on E-3 pay with kids and beginning deployed. Maybe you can ask your friends about it.

  31. afret — I’ll clarify for other commenters since you are bound and determined to argue nitpicky facts, no matter how wrong you are. BAS is the same for all enlisted, no matter what rank, and the BAH chart lumps E-1’s through E-5’s together, so even an E-3 with dependents gets $1599 per month for housing. E-5 was an example I picked out of thin air. I’ll save you the time in pointing out that it’s different for E-6, E-7, E-8, E-9, O-1, O-2….

    We’re talking about a chart here. It’s in black and white. Very easy to read. Perspective of military life does not change the chart itself, which is the original topic I presented to Judas. I’m not getting into your other discussion. I’ll stick with xring and Judas, who sometimes I learn things from.

  32. FLASH! “This should make the liberals see RED!” “The authorities have just
    started removing those union thugs from the Wisconsin State House.” Hurrah,
    Hurrah, Hurrah! Go, conservatives Go!

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