Stand up for facts and support PolitiFact.

Now is your chance to go on the record as supporting trusted, factual information by joining PolitiFact’s Truth Squad. Contributions or gifts to PolitiFact, which is part of the 501(c)(3) nonprofit Poynter Institute, are tax deductible.

More Info

I would like to contribute

By David Baumann October 12, 2007

Half-baked Alaska

Make that almost spent.

For critics of the earmarking process, in which lawmakers can assign federal money to favored projects, the so-called "bridge to nowhere" had it all.

The bridge money was written directly into the 2005 highway bill by just one person, then-House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Don Young, R-Alaska.

The law set aside $223-million to build a bridge in Young's home state that would connect the Alaska town of Ketchikan to Gravina Island. Gravina Island has 50 people living on it. Critics seized on the project as a prime example of how the earmark process invites wasteful spending.

Featured Fact-check

There was such a firestorm of criticsm that in November 2005 Congress removed the earmark requirement. Alaska still got the federal transportation money, but the state no longer was required to use it on the bridge.

Nonetheless, McCain continues to speak as if Congress still is requiring that the bridge be built. He says $223-million was "spent" on the bridge, but that's not true. The "bridge to nowhere" never was built.

Our Sources

Browse the Truth-O-Meter

More by David Baumann

Half-baked Alaska

Support independent fact-checking.
Become a member!

In a world of wild talk and fake news, help us stand up for the facts.

Sign me up