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« Just On The Other Side | Main | More Game Ads, Lower Prices »

Here's Your Analysis, Senator

Ted Stevens says that he was only (anonymously) holding up the bill until a cost/benefit analysis could be performed on it.

[Excuse me a minute]

[Sorry, give me another minute or so]

[Almost ready, wait, another minute or two]

OK, sorry. Phew. Oh,, my sides hurt.

I may have even moistened my pants.

Anyway, where was I?

Oh, right. So he wants a cost/benefit analysis? Here's a cost/benefit analysis.

  • One set of redundant web servers and enough electricity to run them for a year: $10,000
  • One redundant T3 broadband connection per year: $30,000
  • Staff of ten to maintain web site and keep it updated for one year: $1.5 million
  • Exposing and killing a two-hundred-million-dollar "bridge to nowhere"? Priceless.

[Evening update]

Mark Tapscott has additional thoughts.

Posted by Rand Simberg at August 30, 2006 01:02 PM
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Cowardly Lion Identified
Excerpt: The truth is out there. The Cowardly Lion of the US Senate who placed a secret hold a secret hold on legislation designed to create greater transparency in government spending is none other than Ted "Bridge to Nowhere" Stevens. Stevens...
Weblog: Hold The Mayo
Tracked: August 30, 2006 04:27 PM

But the Tubes Rand, where are the Tubes? Until you can show how many tubes we need to do this, he may put a hold on all our internets! And you know how he hates it when his internets are delayed because the Tubes are full of movies and music and bloggers searching for the jerk who put the secret hold on this.

Posted by Brad at August 30, 2006 04:13 PM

Actually, I believe he is afraid the public might do a cost/benefit analysis on congress if this bill passes.

Posted by BDavis at August 30, 2006 07:31 PM

Bridge to nowhere....
The bridge to nowhere is a bridge from Ketchikan
(Alaska's 4th largest city) to it's airport.
This airport serves as the primarry gateway for
most of Southeastern Alaska.
There are dozens and dozens of small towns that use the Ketchikan airport.

As it is the state maintains two docks and three
car carring ferry's to transport people to/from the airport. While 200M seems like a lot, the real cost should be adjusted by the cost necessary to maintain the ongoing ferry service.

If one factors in the high cost of the ferrys and
the low cost of borrowing one might actually make a valid economic case for the bridge.

I grew up in Ketchikan and workin in a hanger/shop on the airport.
If you got involved with a project and missed the last ferry you were spending the night.
(I once swam the channel,with a chase boat, on a bet. It was damm cold with stiff currents I would not do that again, if stuck I'd sleep in the hanger.)

Now living in SoCal so the bridge won't benifit me.


Posted by Paul Breed at August 30, 2006 09:41 PM

You know, for years I've thought that Ted Stevens's problem was clogged tubes.

I'm glad he's finally starting to talk public about it.

Posted by at August 31, 2006 12:04 AM

I actually agree with Paul Breed about the alleged "bridge to nowhere" -- I'd love to see sanctimonious NYT and WaPo reporters have to ride a ferry across a foggy, choppy inland strait to catch a flight, and then complain about a bridge.

But Ted Stevens deserves every last bit of opprobrium he's getting for this secret hold. I've thought the man was a light socket since shortly after he became my senior Senator for five years back in the mid-'90s.

Many of my fellow Republicans prefer to believe Sheets Byrd is the King of Pork, but he's a piker. Stevens has owned the title since the Bronze Age. He needs to go.

Posted by McGehee at August 31, 2006 04:57 AM

Sorry, but the fact that a few people don't like taking a ferry doesn't justify taking federal tax dollars to (over)build a bridge. Particularly in a state as wealthy as Alaska. With all the oil money (particularly at current prices), if Juneau doesn't think it's worth the money, then why should the rest of us?

Posted by Rand Simberg at August 31, 2006 06:06 AM

Others have, with more clarity than I can muster, explained the economics of pork. There can be no doubt that people will spend others' money differently than their own. (Otherwise, the fine folks in metro Ketchikan area would have found a way to fund this project themselves by now.) To make the case against this type of collective spending even more starkly, one might issue the challenge (and I am sure many already have) to consider whether the citizens of Ketchikan would build the bridge if the earmarked public funds were distributed to them with no strings attached. Even assuming they would proceed with the bridge, consider how the cost of construction might be impacted if the citizens were permitted to realize any cost savings. In economics as in physiology, pain has its purposes....

Posted by Matt at August 31, 2006 07:56 AM

I don't know the history of the city of Ketchikan and the Ketchikan airport but while looking at a map of the area I have to wonder: whose brilliant idea was it to put the airport on Gravina Island in the first place, on the opposite bank of channel from the city and everything else?

Posted by Cecil Trotter at August 31, 2006 09:20 AM

doesn't justify taking federal tax dollars to (over)build a bridge. Particularly in a state as wealthy as Alaska.

Where the federal government owns 99% of the place. Stevens is a light socket, but his rationale for porkmongering does contain a molecule of justification. D.C. could potentially be rid of the bill for so much of what goes on up there simply by handing over the keys to the goddamn state to the goddamn state government.

whose brilliant idea was it to put the airport on Gravina Island in the first place, on the opposite bank of channel from the city and everything else?

The city already occupies all of the level land on the island where Ketchikan lies.

Posted by McGehee at August 31, 2006 11:53 AM

"The city already occupies all of the level land on the island where Ketchikan lies."

I hoped that was the reason, I didn't check the topography.

So this ferry, how much does it cost to cross the channel? Does the ferry make enough to pay for itself?

Posted by Cecil Trotter at August 31, 2006 12:14 PM

Stevens and the Grand Kleagle:

"Down by the station, early in the morning,
See the little puffer-bellies all in a row.
Ding-dong, toot-toot early in the morning:
Puff-puff, choo-choo, off we go!"

Anyone for Unit Allocation Budgeting (UAB)?

Posted by John Blake at August 31, 2006 08:18 PM

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