Sen. Ted Stevens, who championed $452 million in federal funding for Alaska's notorious "bridges to nowhere," has directed the Navy to build an experimental ferry it once rejected to serve a little-used port in a remote area of his home state.Man, that Ted Stevens sure cares about his constituents! Or does he? From a little further on in the article we get a sense of why the Senator is requesting another outrageously expensive solution to a small problem;
The high-speed ferry will connect Anchorage to Port MacKenzie in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough at an estimated cost to taxpayers of $84 million. The project follows the same route as one of the two "bridges to nowhere," which the non-partisan Taxpayers for Common Sense and others spotlighted in 2005 as examples of wasteful projects promoted by members of Congress that benefit few people.
The 3-mile ferry route will turn a 2½-hour drive into a 15-minute trip to Port MacKenzie, which has two businesses that employ about 40 people combined. The borough, known as Mat-Su, will own and operate the passenger-vehicle ferry and give the Navy data on its operation as a possible ship-to-shore transport vessel.
In an e-mail to USA TODAY, the Office of Naval Research (ONR) said it did not request the funding. The Navy said it rejected Lockheed Martin's proposal for a similar prototype to transport military personnel and equipment, saying the project was not a high priority.- Advertisement -
One company that could benefit from the ferry is VECO Corp., the oil services firm at the heart of a federal corruption probe that led to an FBI search of Stevens' home July 30. The company, whose former chief executive is a business partner of Stevens, signed a letter of interest six years ago to open a manufacturing facility at the port once the ferry begins operations, which is now expected in 2009. Borough Manager John Duffy says VECO remains interested in building huge oilfield equipment at the port, where it built smaller equipment "modules" in 2005 and 2006.Ted sure has chutzpah- even though he is under scrutiny for possible bribery relating to VECO, he proposes this waste of taxpayer money.