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Five major chambers of commerce join in support of Ivey’s infrastructure plan

Chip Brownlee

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Gov. Kay Ivey delivers the 2019 state of the state address before a joint session of the Alabama Legislature in the Old House Chambers of the Alabama State Capitol on March 5, 2019. (Chip Brownlee/APR)

Five major chambers of commerce and the Chamber of Commerce Association of Alabama are joining with the Business Council of Alabama to support the Gov. Kay Ivey’s Rebuild Alabama Bill.

The Birmingham Business Alliance, Chamber of Commerce of Huntsville/Madison County, Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce, Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce and the Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama support the legislation to strengthen Alabama’s infrastructure.

“The road to our future must be paved,” said Business Council of Alabama President and CEO Katie Boyd Britt. “Alabama’s transportation system is crucial to our economic growth, and BCA is proud to stand united with these chambers and so many others to support Governor Ivey and the legislature to Rebuild Alabama. Economic development and infrastructure go hand in hand.”

Ivey’s bill would raise the motor fuels tax by 10 cents over three years in order to pay for more infrastructure spending. The bill would also apply fees to hybrid and motor vehicles while allocating more money to improve the Port of Mobile.

“Chambers of Commerce are the pillars of our communities, and we are strongest when we stand together,” said Jeremy Arthur, president and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce Association of Alabama which represents more than 100 local chambers in Alabama. “We can no longer sit idling while every other state around us improves their infrastructure and lands the jobs and industries that otherwise would come to Alabama.”

The chambers, county governments and city leaders say increasing Alabama’s public investment in infrastructure is a top priority critical to the economic development community.

“The BBA supports the Rebuild Alabama Act and its intended purpose of increasing Alabama’s public investment in transportation infrastructure, promoting economic growth and increasing public safety on Alabama’s roads,” stated Greg Curran, Chairman of the Firm, Maynard, Cooper & Gale, P.C. and Vice Chairman of the BBA’s public policy committee.

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The Rebuild Alabama legislation will help fund projects across the state, ultimately spurring job growth and ensuring that Alabama is able to successfully compete for new business, the chambers say.

“Transportation infrastructure is vital to the economic vitality of our region and the State.  We applaud the efforts of Governor Ivey, Speaker McCutcheon, Senate Pro-Tem. Marsh, members of the Alabama House and Senate for crafting the Rebuild Alabama Act, stated Chip Cherry, president and CEO of the Huntsville-Madison County Chamber of Commerce.  “The increase in funding for transportation infrastructure projects will make the roads safer for our citizens, support economic development, and provide one of the key foundational elements needed for future growth and development.”

Bill Sisson, the Mobile Area Chamber’s president and CEO, said it is incredibly important that the chambers come together as a business community to support this bill.

“As companies look to locate and expand here, they are carefully analyzing our infrastructure capabilities,” Sisson said. “The Port of Mobile is the gateway for Alabama’s exports to reach the world. The better our ports, roads, bridges and traffic patterns are, the faster we will rise on their short list of viable locations.”

The Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce chair Willie Durham said Rebuild Alabama is critical in order for local communities and the state to be a competitor in economic development.

Jim Page, the president of the Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama, agreed.

“Governor Ivey’s Rebuild Alabama package also creates unprecedented accountability and oversight of transportation revenue,” Page said. “Our chambers urge Alabama lawmakers to approve this long overdue legislation. Failure to do so has too great a cost – in lost economic opportunities and, most importantly, in lives.”

The organizations all agree that increasing Alabama’s investment in transportation infrastructure to sustain and promote economic growth, job creation, quality of life and public safety is a necessity.

 

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