MONTGOMERY, Ala. – The mayors of Alabama’s five largest cities gathered today in Montgomery where they called on state leaders to support efforts to improve transportation infrastructure in Alabama.
The mayors from Birmingham, Huntsville, Mobile, Montgomery and Tuscaloosa said state legislators must identify funding for construction of new bridges, roads and highways as well as maintenance and repairs on existing infrastructure.
“Infrastructure is one of the top factors in the competition for jobs and investment,” the five mayors said in a joint statement. “As local leaders, we recognize that there is a gap between current resources and needs. We support efforts to ensure that the state has adequate funds to address this basic responsibility of government.”
The mayors, who collectively represent almost half of the state’s total population, met Wednesday with Gov. Robert Bentley along with leadership from the Alabama House and Senate.
The delegation included Mayor Tommy Battle of Huntsville, Mayor William Bell of Birmingham, Mayor Walt Maddox of Tuscaloosa, Mayor Sandy Stimpson of Mobile and Mayor Todd Strange of Montgomery.
The mayors also thanked members of the Alabama House of Representatives for voting Tuesday to approve a bill extending the Alabama Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit, and urged members of the Alabama Senate to do the same.
The mayors said the tax credit has been key to downtown revitalization efforts in each of their cities and that its passage is necessary to ensure continued investment and job growth.
In meetings with legislators and state officials on Wednesday, the mayors said it is up to elected leaders in Montgomery to determine how to pay for needed repairs and maintenance to Alabama roadways.
The mayors said they would oppose the use or transfer of state transportation revenues for purposes other than transportation infrastructure.
See below for quotes from each of the five mayors:
“Economic development is tied to infrastructure, and infrastructure means jobs. As mayors, it is our responsibility is to provide the essential ingredients in our cities to ensure economic success. State government has the same responsibility.” — Mayor Battle
“The five of us represent nearly half of our state’s population, and we understand the immediate needs, challenges and ambitions of our residents on a tangible level. What our residents need right now are solutions to the infrastructure and transportation issues threatening to slow down Alabama’s economic progress and pose a safety risk to our citizens.”– Mayor Strange
“There is a critical need for state transportation funding for infrastructure in the City of Birmingham and around the state of Alabama. Our hope is that by speaking with one voice, we make a bigger impact and have that voice heard.” – Mayor Bell
“Strong public infrastructure creates strong cities. Having a strong highway system which meets Alabama’s safety, mobility and economic needs must be a common cause which unites us all.” – Mayor Maddox
“We have neglected our infrastructure for too long as a state. Fixing our roads and bridges will make us safer, more competitive and improve the quality of life for all Alabamians.”— Mayor Stimpson