Alaska’s Gravina Island is home to 50 people and more than 350 Sitka black-tailed deer. Under the U.S. highway bill passed last month, this group will get a $223 million bridge taller than the Brooklyn Bridge in New York.
The funding is among $1.04 billion that Alaska lawmakers secured for transportation projects, making the state the envy of its neighbors in the U.S. Pacific Northwest. The states of Washington and Oregon, with a combined population 15 times that of Alaska’s 650,000, each received about $500 million sought by lawmakers for transportation projects in their home states under the bill signed by President George W. Bush on Aug. 10.
Alaska owes its bounty to Congressman Donald Young, a Republican who heads the U.S. House of Representatives Transportation Committee and has told voters he used his position to enhance Alaska’s share. A second bridge, spanning 2 miles in Anchorage, to be called ``Don Young’s Way,’’ got $229 million.