County Leaders Applaud State Lawmakers’ Efforts to Increase Transparency
The Future of Alabama's Roads

County Leaders Applaud State Lawmakers’ Efforts to Increase Transparency

crumblingroads

The Association of County Commissions of Alabama (ACCA) applauded the passage of Senate Bill 180 by the Alabama House of Representatives on yesterday. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Gerald Dial, is unique in that it includes protection features to ensure accountability and transparency in a way currently unseen in Alabama. Prior to the introduction of SB 180, county leaders expressed concern that legislation creating additional road and bridge revenue could be diverted for other uses, leaving counties to face perpetual infrastructure deterioration.

“Senator Dial’s bill is critical to the process of securing additional revenue for deteriorating county roads and bridges. It is our guarantee that any monies generated for transportation infrastructure will only be spent where it is desperately needed – on our local roads and bridges,” said Sonny Brasfield, Executive Director of the Association of County Commissions of Alabama. “This bill, particularly the creation of the Alabama Transportation Safety Fund, demonstrates that legislators have made a long-term commitment to improving the condition of Alabama’s roads and bridges.”

SB 180 establishes the Alabama Transportation Safety Fund along with expenditure guidelines for any road and bridge revenue generated this session. Specifically, it does the following:

  • Requires the public to be notified of any projects being funded with monies from the Alabama Transportation Safety Fund
  • Requires state and local officials to provide regular reports on the status of both new and existing road and bridge projects
  • Ensures that all monies generated for transportation infrastructure go directly to road and bridge projects.

Passage of SB 180 could directly impact House Bill 394 by Rep. Mac McCutcheon, which proposes a $.06 per gallon increase at the gas pump that would cost Alabamians approximately $5 per month. A 2015 review of county highway programs by DRIVE Alabama revealed that the majority of Alabama counties would need to see an approximate increase of 175% in annual revenue to adequately preserve and improve their road and bridge networks.

“County engineers from all over the state have spent the last year working on the DRIVE Alabama campaign to bring more attention to the silent crisis facing Alabama’s county roads and bridges,” said Brasfield. “The revenue generating measure proposed by Rep. McCutcheon this session represents a responsible approach to addressing the funding deficits faced by many local road and bridge programs.”

Rep. McCutcheon’s bill, HB 394, could be considered by the Alabama House of Representatives as early as next week. For more information on SB 180 and HB 394, visit the DRIVE Alabama campaign at www.drivealabama.org.