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October 24, 2005
Sen. Coburn Offers Compromise 'Bridge to Everywhere'
by Scott Ott

(2005-10-24) -- After failing in his attempt last week to divert $75 million in funding from the Alaskan 'bridge to nowhere' project to repair the hurricane-damaged bridge across Lake Pontchartrain, Sen. Tom Coburn, R-OK, today introduced a revised version of the measure designed to satisfy his colleagues' concerns, while still providing funding for the Louisiana project

The new legislation would create a massive federal transportation project called 'the bridge to everywhere' -- a 139,000-mile elevated highway which would start on a small, sparsely-populated Alaskan island, wind its way through all 50 states (including Hawaii) and end up in New Orleans after crossing Lake Pontchartrain.

The portion of the span within the borders of each state would be named after the Senators from that state, and numerous access ramps would be included.

"I think there's something in this measure that every Senator can take home to his constituents in an election year," said Sen. Coburn. "And it gets the hurricane repair job done, while providing a beautiful illustration of the efficiency of the federal budget process."

The Oklahoma freshman senator said construction of the 'bridge to everywhere' would be relatively economical thanks to a provision that temporarily lifts the ban on employing illegal aliens for government-funded projects.

"When the vegetable-picking season is over, our illegal amigos can get right to work on this bridge," Sen Coburn said. "Given the size of that work force, we should have this wrapped up by April 2006."

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