FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 13, 2016
Contact: Nancy Wall Hewston or Dana Beyerle (334) 834-6000
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (April 13, 2016) – The Business Council of Alabama praised the Legislature for today’s final passage of legislation that paves the way for the first new investment in Alabama’s road and bridge infrastructure in the last quarter-century.
SB 180, the Alabama Transportation Safety Fund, sponsored by Sen. Gerald Dial, R-Lineville, will create a responsible and accountable fund that will receive designated revenues for maintenance, improvement, replacement, and construction of state, county, and municipal roads and bridges.
The Senate approved SB 180 on March 3 by a vote of 25-4. The House amended the bill and passed it 90-3 on Tuesday. It returned to the Senate for today’s final passage by a vote of 31-0. The bill goes to the Governor for his review.
The bill is supported by the grassroots Alliance for Alabama’s Infrastructure that was created in January by the BCA and members of the Alabama business community, chambers of commerce, industry associations, community groups, and concerned citizens who desire to promote financially responsible investment in Alabama’s roads and infrastructure.
“The Senate for its previous passage of SB 180 and now House members deserve praise for supporting this responsible and accountable legislation,” BCA President and CEO William J. Canary said. “A well-supported surface transportation system is as important to manufacturing, wholesale, and retail businesses and industries for profitability and job creation as any other component of a successful business model.”
“Today, Alabama legislators exercised true leadership by voting in favor of SB 180,” said Jim Page, CEO of the West Alabama Chamber of Commerce and spokesperson for the Alliance for Alabama’s Infrastructure. “We applaud the members of the legislature who recognize that we can no longer ignore Alabama’s crumbling infrastructure. If our state wants to remain economically competitive and keep our citizens safe, then we must invest in and protect funding for our roads and bridges.”
Arteries of commerce, safe and effective roads and bridges are essential to keeping Alabama economically competitive, attract and retain jobs, keep drivers and passengers safe, and maintain a high quality of life for our citizens, Canary said.
“The House and Senate recognize that Alabama’s crumbling infrastructure is unacceptable and are in support two responsible bills that will ensure that Alabama maintains a safe, reliable infrastructure network for the people who live, work and do business in Alabama,” Canary said.
SB 180 is necessary legislation that precedes consideration of HB 394 by Rep. Mac McCutcheon, R-Huntsville.
HB 394, which is on the House calendar, would adjust Alabama motor fuel revenues to match the average of the user fees of bordering states beginning Oct. 1. The user fees would be deposited into the Alabama Transportation Safety Fund and may not be used for administrative salaries and benefits, purchasing or maintaining equipment, or construction of buildings not related to road and bridge construction.
Earlier this month the mayors of Birmingham, Huntsville, Mobile, Montgomery, and Tuscaloosa urged passage of responsible and accountable infrastructure legislation. The last time the Legislature increased the investment in Alabama’s highways and bridges was in 1992.
The Business Council of Alabama is Alabama’s foremost voice for business. The BCA is a non-partisan, statewide business association representing the interests and concerns of nearly 1 million working Alabamians through its member companies and its partnership with the Chamber of Commerce Association of Alabama. The BCA is Alabama’s exclusive affiliate to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers.
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