Sarah Palin, Transit Advocate?

John McCain may not be big on public transportation, but as mayor of a small town in Alaska, his running mate Sarah Palin secured millions in federal earmarks for rail and bus projects.

9_3_08_palain.JPGThe Washington Post reports that during Palin’s two terms as mayor of Wasilla, when it had a population of 6,700, the town enjoyed a number of transportation-related funding successes, including:

  • $1.9 million for the Wasilla Intermodal Transit Project, to realign rail and bus routes to increase use of public transit in the region.
  • $15 million for a rail project to connect Wasilla with Girdwood, the home town of Sen. Ted Stevens (R).
  • $600,000 to upgrade bus stations.

The story contrasts Palin’s skill at lining up earmarks — with the aid of a lobbyist law firm now tainted by federal corruption charges — against McCain’s professed distaste for "pork barrel" spending. The Post says Palin once supported the infamous "Bridge to Nowhere," a $223 million structure that was to replace ferry service between the town of Ketchikan and Gravina Island, but that she later "reversed course."

Despite her accomplishments for public transit in Wasilla, Grist says Palin has "developed an anti-environmental reputation" since she was elected governor of Alaska less than two years ago. Palin has proposed eliminating the state’s gas tax, and in June told a national TV audience that McCain was "wrong" to oppose drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge:

"I think he’s going to evolve into eventually supporting ANWR opening
… I’d like the opportunity to change his mind about ANWR."

Here is Grist’s summary of Palin’s environmental record.

Photo: Wikipedia Commons

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