Opinion | Legislators should not ignore infrastructure, education and jobs just because it is an election year

January 11, 2018

By Rep. Craig Ford

The legislative session began this week and, by all accounts, it’s expected to be an uneventful year. The only goal lawmakers seem to have is to pass the budgets and go home.

But there is a lot of work that can and ought to be done instead of just kicking the can down the road for the next legislature.

Beyond the typical budget issues, there’s a lot of unfinished business involving our infrastructure, healthcare, education and jobs that we need to address – and all of these issues go hand-in-hand.

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Ivey in DC meeting about Alabama infrastructure needs

June 13, 2017

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Thursday, June 8, 2017, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey (R) was in Washington, DC at the invitation of President Trump (R) to take part in a series of meetings related to the President’s infrastructure plan.

Governor Ivey said in a statement, “I am thankful President Trump asked me to join him in helping identify priorities for his upcoming infrastructure spending plan. I used the opportunity to stress the need to rebuild our roads and bridges and to invest in modern infrastructure such as high-speed internet and telecommunications.”
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Strange meets with steel workers

April 19, 2017

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Monday, April 17, 2017, US Senator Luther Strange (R) was in Tuscaloosa following the Trump Administration’s $1 billion proposal to revitalize ailing infrastructure nationwide.  Senator Strange met with steel workers at the Nucor Plate facility in Tuscaloosa.

Sen. Strange said, “The President’s infrastructure plan has enormous potential to infuse fresh investment and job growth into Alabama manufacturing, and the steel produced here in Tuscaloosa and across the state will be the steel that builds a new generation of bridges and roads across America.  I am proud of the hard work being done here in Tuscaloosa, and I am committed to putting domestic producers at the head of the line as we break ground on this exciting new era.”
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Republicans Support Higher Gas Taxes

March 18, 2016

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

On Wednesday, March 17, the Alabama House Transportation, Utilities, and Infrastructure Committee voted for favorable passage of House Bill 394, sponsored by State Representative Mac McCutcheon (R-Huntsville) that would raise fuel taxes by six cents a gallon, and includes future gas tax increases beyond that to keep generating higher taxes for road construction, as other southern states raise their fuel taxes.

State Representative Will Ainsworth (R-Guntersville) opposed the bill in committee. Rep. Ainsworth said, “I voted no on this bill in committee today. I’m not in favor of the hard-working people of Alabama having to pay any more taxes, and this is a tax on everyone in the State.
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Senate Passes Bill To Divide Up Possible New Gas Tax

March 8, 2016

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

On Thursday, March 3, the Alabama Senate passed Senate Bill 180, sponsored by State Senator Gerald Dial (R-Lineville). SB180 divides up how the money would be spent if the legislature passes any increases in the state taxes on a gallon of fuel, as many powerful special interests are advocating.

Senator Dial said on the floor of the Senate that his bill doesn’t create a new committee it just keeps using the ATRIP committee we already have. Dial said that each county will get a minimum of $2.5 million each and they don’t have to provide a match. After that first $32 million the rest of the money will be divided under the existing formula we use today.
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McCutcheon Pushing for Tax Increase for Roads

January 25, 2016

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

On Friday, January 22, State Representative Mac McCutcheon (R-Capshaw) said on Facebook that it is time to make some decisions about the future of our transportation infrastructure. The powerful Chairman of the House Rules Committee claimed that we need 12 cents additional state taxes on every gallon of fuel to spend on road projects.

McCutcheon said, “There will be a meeting concerning Transportation Issues on Feb. 1st, 10am til Noon, at Calhoun College Campus. The meeting will be in the Lecture Hall of the Aerospace Training Center. The Joint Transportation Committee members are attend the meetings which are sponsored by the local Chamber of Commerce organizations. There are Five Regional Meetings and we have had two so far. All of the meetings have been during the day from 10am until noon and the attendance has been overwhelming. Local businesses, individuals, local elected officials and Legislators have been in attendance.”
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The First of Five Regional Transportation Infrastructure Hearings Held Thursday

January 11, 2016

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

On Thursday, January 7, the Alabama Legislature’s Joint Transportation Committee held the first of five regional meetings in Northport to gather information on Alabama’s infrastructure needs in order to maintain safe, quality roads, and bridges.

Business Council of Alabama (BCA) President and CEO William J. Canary said in a statement, “The meetings will help guide the future of Alabama’s arteries of transportation that move our lifeblood of commerce, business, and manufacturing to markets both within and without Alabama… Timed perfectly before the February start of the 2016 regular legislative session, the meetings offer the public, local officials, business leaders, and their employees to opportunity to provide input and learn about Alabama’s important surface transportation system.”
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Rep. Phil Williams Announces His Opposition to Raising Gas Taxes

January 7, 2016

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

In 2015, powerful forces led by Governor Robert Bentley (R) pushed the State Legislature for massive tax increases to help the state general fund (SGF). It took nine months and three sessions; but eventually $66 million a year in cigarette, nursing home bed, and prescription drug taxes passed the Republican dominated state legislature. None of that new money went to roads. Now those powerful road building special interests are gathering momentum to push for raising fuel taxes to fund more roadwork. Gov. Bentley recently told the Alabama Asphalt Association that he would sign the gas tax hikes if the legislature passes it, but he would not lead the push like he did in 2015. That puts the pressure on the legislature and most of them have not made their positions publicly known.
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House Passes Bill to Deal with Changing Energy Sector

March 20, 2014

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Alabama, like other states, funds its interstate, road, and bridge construction and maintenance with taxes on gasoline and diesel.  We pay for the roads that we need to go to work, to church, to get groceries, etc. when we fuel up at the pump.

The vehicles that we drive however are starting to change and Alabama has to adapt to the vehicles of the 21st century.  HB 552 sponsored by Representative Greg Wren (R) from Montgomery is an acknowledgement on the part of the state to make an effort to do just that.
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Bentley Announces 34 Additional ATRIP Projects

July 31, 2012

By  Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley on Monday announced 34 additional, supplemental road and bridge projects that can move forward as part of Round 1 of funding for the Alabama Transportation Rehabilitation and Improvement Program (ATRIP).

Gov. Bentley said, “With these additional projects, we are moving closer to our goal of improving the safety of roads and bridges throughout Alabama.  Many of our bridges are in desperate need of repair or replacement.  Many of our roads are outdated and cannot handle current demand.  Through ATRIP, we are able to make needed improvements to enhance public safety and quality of life in our communities.”
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