Washington, D.C. — Today, the Center for American Progress released an analysis detailing how decision makers can find common-sense solutions to the important health and safety concerns of King Cove, Alaska, while avoiding more wasted taxpayer spending on a $75 million “Road to Nowhere.”
The analysis provides five recommendations to help resolve a two-decade-old debate that has emerged as one of the most bitterly contested natural resource battles of 2014. The recommendations include:
Commissioning a team of transportation, engineering, and safety experts to develop and review a wide range of nonroad alternatives to improve safety and health care in King Cove, Alaska.
Assessing the operational needs, costs and benefits, and alternatives for enhancing the U.S. Coast Guard’s presence in the area.
Protecting the proceeds from the auction of a taxpayer-funded hovercraft in an escrow account to help fund alternative solutions.
Prohibiting lobbyists from all future involvement in the issue.
Upholding the law and using the best available information and science to develop alternative solutions.
“With Interior Secretary Sally Jewell having rightly rejected a boondoggle of a road through one of America’s most important wilderness areas, now is the time to find common-sense solutions that can address important health and safety concerns while avoiding more government waste,” said Matt Lee-Ashley, a Senior Fellow and Director of the Public Lands Project at the Center for American Progress. “This is an issue that needs leadership, collaboration, and new ideas—not more lobbyists, earmarks, and rhetoric.”
The analysis notes that taxpayers have already spent tens of millions of dollars to help address important health and safety concerns in King Cove, Alaska, including $37.5 million in earmarks that the Alaska congressional delegation secured to upgrade the community’s health clinic and to purchase a hovercraft that the local government is reportedly now putting up for auction.