$75.5 Million ‘Airport To Nowhere’ Closes In Alaska

In Alaska, a $75.5 million “airport to nowhere” is drawing attention to Akutan, years after a similar project dubbed the “bridge to nowhere” became a point of contention during the 2008 election.

The $75.5 million airport to nowhere echoes the “bridge to nowhere” debate as a politically charged indictment of wasteful spending, and the issue dogged former Alaska governor Sarah Palin for much of the campaign — as an early statement that she stopped the project backfired when it revealed she had been an early proponent of the supposedly ill-conceived venture.

The $75.5 million airport to nowhere has not been used against any particular candidate or elected official yet, but the previous controversy reflected poorly on Palin — who was cornered by what she would likely have deemed a “gotcha” question by ABC’s John Gibson in 2008. To her assertion that she’d halted the bridge to nowhere, Gibson said in an interview:

“… it’s now pretty clearly documented. You supported that bridge before you opposed it. You were wearing a t-shirt in the 2006 campaign, showed your support for the bridge to nowhere.”

Palin cut in:

“I was wearing a t-shirt with the zip code of the community that was asking for that bridge. Not all the people in that community even were asking for a $400 million or $300 million bridge.”

75.5 million bridge to nowhere

Just before the election, the Anchorage Daily News quoted PenAir President Danny Seybert regarding the $75.5 million airport to nowhere in Akutan. He confirmed its decommission earlier this month:

“I can’t operate out there any more… They took my runway away. Sunday was our last flight.”

Do you think that projects like the $75.5 million airport to nowhere in Akutan, Alaska should be scrutinized more heavily by the media and lawmakers?