The legislation currently pending in the Alabama Legislature represents a revolutionary approach to road and bridge maintenance in our state. Senate Bill 180 establishes expenditure, accounting and reporting requirements that ensure any new revenue is expended directly on roads and bridges and that the public has open and clear access to how this money is spent. The level of transparency and accountability in this bill demonstrates the dire need for any new revenue to be spent on the maintenance and improvement of roads and bridges ONLY — not new buildings, new hiring, salary increases, equipment purchases, etc.. It would also require the state and local governments to publish plans for the use of the money – i.e., which roads, what type work, when will it be done, how much will be spent, etc..
However, SB 180 is fruitless without new revenue. Many counties have reduced the size of their workforces as a proactive steps to become more efficient. They have also explored and are utilizing the most cost-effective techniques to stretch the 1992 dollars to their fullest extent. House Bill 394 represents a common-sense approach to providing long-overdue revenue. By keeping Alabama’s gasoline and diesel fuel taxes at the average of our border states, this bill will provide funding that Alabama’s citizens desperately need while keeping our gasoline and diesel retailers competitive.