The Alaskan Railroad To Nowhere

ALASKA AT IT AGAIN: Alaska Rep. Don Young brought the world the “Bridge to Nowhere.” Call this the “Railroad to Nowhere.” Seven years ago, the veteran Republican created a cash gusher for the touristy Alaska Railroad by giving it a share of Congress’s mass transit bucks. In June, he stared down the Senate to keep the subsidies flowing for another two years. The price tag: $62 million. Those millions were part of a package meant to help mass transit lines carry commuters, not send cargo and tourists through the Alaskan tundra. Jonathan Allen and Jessica have the scoop: http://politi.co/NhKc59 Seven years ago, the veteran Republican created a cash gusher for the touristy Alaska Railroad by giving it a share of Congress’s mass transit bucks. In June, he stared down the Senate to keep the subsidies flowing for another two years. The price tag: $62 million. Those millions were part of a package meant to help mass transit lines carry commuters, not send cargo and tourists through the Alaskan tundra. And Young pulled it off at a time where member-specific earmarks are supposed to be a thing of the past — a victim, in fact, of the outrage over Young’s much-maligned Bridge to Nowhere that would have connected an Alaskan town to an island of 50 people. For his part, Y oung offers no apologies. “Throughout my career in Congress, I have fought hard to ensure a level playing field between Alaska and its lower-48 counterparts — and the Alaska Railroad is no different,” Young said in a statement to POLITICO. “There is no reason why the Alaska Railroad should be treated differently than other American passenger rail systems — and that is exactly why this provision is so important.”

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