Alaska could privatize 'bridge to nowhere'

| 1/18/2007

There's a new twist in an already controversial bridge project in Alaska.

According to the Anchorage Daily News, the proposed Knik Arm Bridge, which would link Anchorage with some undeveloped wetlands, could become a private venture.

The authority that's been planning the bridge has now asked private companies to submit proposals for designing, building and operating the span as a toll bridge, the Daily News reported.

The Knik Arm Bridge and another Alaskan bridge that would link the mainland to a tiny, nearly uninhabited island were denounced by some in Congress as "bridges to nowhere" during discussion on last year's highway bill, and were cited as examples of pork barrel projects.

The Knik Arm crossing has a price tag between $600 million to $1 billion. The other bridge would have connected to Gravina Island, which has a population of about 50 people. Sen. Ted Stevens and Rep Don Young, both Republicans from Alaska, had sought $452 million in federal money for the projects.