From The New York Times:
It is not often that a local government tries to turn down $10 million in federal construction money.
But then it is not every day that an Alaska congressman surprises a Florida community with the gift of a highway interchange that just happens to abut the property of a major political fund-raiser.
The money for the interchange was the work of Representative Don Young, the Alaska Republican who was chairman of the transportation committee before the last election.
Original DVD cover.
More from the NYT:
Officials of Lee County considered the project a low priority, environmental groups opposed it and the Republican congressman from the district never asked for it.
But the interchange, on Interstate 75 at a place called Coconut Road, would be a boon to Daniel J. Aronoff, a Michigan real estate developer with adjacent property who helped raise $40,000 in donations to Mr. Young at a fund-raiser in the region shortly before Mr. Young inserted an earmark for the project in a transportation bill.
From the Anchorage Daily News:
The Metropolitan Planning Organization voted 10-3 Friday to scuttle a proposed study on the interchange that would have connected I-75 to Coconut Road in Lee County, despite warnings from some on the board and the board’s staff that the move could hurt the county’s chances for future federal road money. Some in Congress have also already suggested as much, including Fort Myers Republican Connie Mack.
So lemme get this straight: A congressman from Alaska asked for money for a road in Florida to benefit a guy in Michigan who raised money for the congressman from Alaska.