Thursday, June 07, 2007

Coconut Road, Alaska

Why would a Congressman from Alaska add money to a bill to build a road in Florida?

Could it be because the Florida developer who'll benefit from the road raised $40,000 for the Alaska Congressman?

The New York Times looked into the road and the campaign cash and found the connection.

Rep Don Young (R-AK) (pictured) -- who's best remembered for getting $200 million for a "bridge to nowhere" in his home state -- tacked the money for the road onto a spending bill.

Coconut Road (see map, courtesy New York Times) -- as it's called -- would connect five golf courses as it runs from I-75 to the Gulf Coast. Developer Daniel Aronoff has a stake in 4,000 acres along the proposed Coconut Road route.

And -- maybe it's just a conicidence -- but Mr Aronoff raised 40-grand for Rep Young at the nearby Hyatt Coconut Point just days before the idea was slipped into the spending bill. But then, there are very few coincidences in politics.

The county never wanted the road.

Well, not until Rep Young wrote them a nasty letter saying they'd better take the money for the road and get cracking on construction -- or they could lose a lot of federal money for projects they did want. (NYT)

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