DRIVE Alabama is a coalition of community leaders, elected officials, and everyday citizens who are committed to developing a transportation and infrastructure vision that will meet Alabama’s 21st century mobility needs. The coalition was the brainchild of Alabama’s 67 county engineers who recognized the urgent need to educate the public about the current state of Alabama’s county roads and bridges.
The High Price of Ignoring Alabama’s Silent Crisis
Alabama’s 67 county governments maintain more than 59,000 miles of paved and unpaved roads and 8,600 bridges. Each day the roads and bridges are stressed with the weight of log trucks, farm equipment, school buses and a growing level of private vehicle traffic. Maintenance of this system – most of which was constructed more than 50 years ago – presents a massive challenge to the quality of life for residents across the state of Alabama. Today, the decaying condition of Alabama’s rural and urban transportation systems is evident to even the most uninformed driver. Crumbling pavement, sinking bridges and deteriorating shoulders are commonplace in every county. For decades the problems have existed and have worsened. Local governments have cried for the resources to address the infrastructure needs, but until recently, there has been resistance to addressing these issues with legislative action.
What’s Next for Alabama County Roads and Bridges?
Currently, county governments have approximately $369 million in annual revenues to provide maintenance and improvements to the county road and bridge systems, but it is not enough. A 2010 study by the Association of County Engineers of Alabama and the Alabama Department of Transportation detailed that Alabama counties actually need $502 million each year to adequately preserve and improve the 43,284 miles of county paved roads and 8,600 county bridge structures throughout the state. Simply stated: Alabama counties do not have the resources to perform the necessary preservation and improvement activities to roads and bridges, not to mention basic maintenance functions. DRIVE Alabama believes that a sustainable road and bridge revenue source for local governments—created out of the momentum of ATRIP—would have a massive impact on Alabama’s infrastructure. The next generation of Alabama residents could be drastically impacted by a small investment in developing a stronger transportation infrastructure system.