- Senator Lautenberg Voted to Spend Hundreds of Millions of Taxpayer Dollars to Build a Bridge to Nowhere -
August 14, 2008
Lawrenceville, NJ - U.S. Senate candidate Dick Zimmer's "Waste of the Week" campaign this week targets the infamous Bridge to Nowhere.
U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg voted twice to support then-Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Ted Stevens' (R-AK) effort to earmark $223 million for a bridge project to span a small river that separates Ketchikan (population 8,000) from Gravina Island (population 50) in Alaska.
"The earmark process has been abused by appropriators like Senators Frank Lautenberg and Ted Stevens with their backroom deals and wasteful pet projects," Zimmer said. "We need to change the way Washington does business and put an end to pork-barrel spending."
The Bridge to Nowhere was to be funded through three separate earmarks placed in the 2005 Highway Bill. Fortunately, the project did not pass the smell test for Alaska's reform Republican Governor Sarah Palin who killed it.
Frank Lautenberg first voted for the project as part of the final version of the highway bill (Senate Vote 220, July 29, 2005). He later voted against shifting money from the Bridge to Nowhere to relief efforts for Hurricane Katrina (Senate Vote 262 on S. Amdt. 2165 to HR 3058, October 20, 2005).
On July 29, Senator Stevens was indicted on seven felony counts for failure to report gifts from an Alaskan oil firm. Since 1999, with the support of fellow-appropriator Frank Lautenberg, Stevens has earmarked more than $3 billion for Alaska projects. Alaska receives $1.84 back for every dollar it sends to Washington while New Jersey receives only 61 cents, the worst rate of return of all 50 states.
"Frank Lautenberg's style of pork-barrel politics has cost New Jerseyans dearly. I'm not going to try to play the pork-barrel game better. I want to shut it down," Zimmer said. "I want to slash wasteful spending and cut taxes. New Jerseyans should be able to keep their hard-earned dollars in their own pockets. It is time for change. New Jerseyans need a Senator who will make New Jersey's interests his top priority."
Zimmer's "Waste of the Week" campaign is designed to highlight Senator Frank Lautenberg's record of supporting wasteful spending and pork-barrel politics at the expense of New Jersey taxpayers.