Senator Blasts Federal Spending in Alaska

In his annual “Waste Book” U.S. Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) labeled a federally sponsored ferry in Seldovia Bay a waste of federal tax dollars.

Coburn’s report cites a June account from the Government Accountability Office that said the Seldolvia Village Tribe veered far off its original plan. The plan, which landed the tribe at least $8.5 million, was supposed to improve ferry service and roads.

But Coburn wrote that the Seldovia Village Tribe instead chose to run its Kachemak Voyager for sightseeing. Federal law prohibits taxpayer money for sightseeing trips. And the report adds, it’s ruining the business of private operators.

The report also condemned a $33 million earmark for the Alaska Railroad. The money was allocated using a formula intended for public transportation. Coburn estimates two-thirds of the railroad’s passengers are cruise ship passengers.