Guest Blogger: Drew Harrell, Deputy Chief of Staff for the Business Council of Alabama and Executive Director of the Alliance for Alabama’s Infrastructure
All over the state, at every level of government, the issue of fixing Alabama’s crumbling road and bridge system is a policy matter that has risen to the forefront over the past few years. Alabamians are looking for answers to address the ever-growing list of road and bridge problems that plague our state, county and city roadways.
Maintaining a safe and effective road and bridge system is an essential government service and is crucial to attracting and retaining job creators and growing our economy.
That’s why the Alliance for Alabama’s Infrastructure (AAI) is leading the charge to solve this issue by connecting the public and the business community with the lawmakers responsible for improving Alabama’s transportation infrastructure.
Alabamians simply can’t afford to continue to drive on deficient roads which cost Alabama drivers a total of $5.3 billion annually in the form of additional vehicle operating costs, congestion-related delays and traffic crashes.
Business executives rank quality infrastructure as the number one most important factor when selecting a new site. If Alabama is going to continue to recruit new industry like we have in recent years, then we are going to have to address this critical issue.
Solving this issue will require a plan that invests significantly more dollars into Alabama’s transportation system on an annual basis. Alabama’s 18 cents per gallon gas tax is currently the 5th lowest in the country and has remained at that level since the legislature last increased it in 1992. Meanwhile, road and bridge construction costs have nearly doubled during that time span, and vehicles have become much more fuel efficient causing a negative compound effect on our scarce transportation dollars.
Governor Kay Ivey has taken a bold leadership position in solving this critical issue in our state. Recently, Governor Ivey introduced her Rebuild Alabama plan which will invest much-needed revenue into Alabama’s roads and bridges and provides sustainable revenue for future transportation needs.
This is the type of plan that Alabama can build on for a brighter future for the next generation.
To achieve success for Rebuild Alabama, it will be up to us to reach out to our legislators and let them know that this is good for our state and encourage them to support this critical effort.
They need to hear your voice on why they should support the Rebuild Alabama plan. Don’t wait for someone else to do it. Get engaged today!
For more information on how you can get involved, visit the AAI website at www.alabamaroads.org/join.