What grade would you give the roads and bridges that you drive every day when traveling to work, school and beyond?
An A+? A-? Maybe a B?
Considering our daily dependence on roads and bridges, all of us certainly would hope that these vital components of our state’s overall transportation system would receive grades that are synonymous with excellence.
Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Sadly, it’s not even close.
According to the American Society of Civil Engineers’ 2015 Report Card for Alabama’s Infrastructure, our roads received a grade of D+, and our bridges received a grade of C-. These grades illustrate the fact that our state’s infrastructure – the road and bridges our family, friends and loved ones rely on each day – is failing.
The time is now to take these grades seriously. We no longer can ignore the significance of poor roads and bridges, because we depend on these vital arteries for far more than traveling from point A to point B. We rely on our roads and bridges to connect, protect and save lives. Consider this:
- We depend on our roads in moments of disaster and emergency – moments that require quick access and effective evacuation routes. To imagine a real-world example of the importance of high-quality roadways, think about the hurricanes that impacted our coast in 2005, or the tornadoes that struck our great state in 2011. Getting out of affected areas in advance of disasters and getting into them after an emergency situation are critical to save the lives of our fellow Alabamians.
- We depend on roads and bridges when our children leave the house every morning on the school bus. It’s nearly impossible to feel a sense of security and comfort when a school bus travels on an unpaved road, yet it happens every day in communities across our state. As proud Alabamians in positions to protect our children, we cannot delay the necessary investments in improving the safety of our roadways and bridges.
- We depend on efficient infrastructure because it creates jobs, promotes commerce and helps us export goods effectively. In 2015, our state exported more than $19 billion in goods and services. In the absence of safe, secure and reliable roads and bridges, we cannot expect to continue to grow our exports, or to make our state a better place to conduct business. These investments are critical to creating jobs and opportunities for our children.
With these points in mind, we all should wonder:
“If roads and bridges are so vital to our safety, quality of life and economic health, why are we willing to let them continue to deteriorate?”
The Alliance for Alabama’s Infrastructure represents voices from across the state and, today, we publicly are stating that Alabama must invest additional dollars in infrastructure projects that will benefit all 67 of our counties. All of us who drive or ride on our roads and bridges expect it. As Alabamians, the time has arrived for us to demand it.
It will save lives. It will reduce traffic. It will create jobs.
The time has come for our state’s leaders to recognize that near-failing grades for our infrastructure are unacceptable. Now is the time to act.
By members of the Alliance for Alabama’s Infrastructure (AAI), a grassroots advocacy coalition that promotes financially-responsible investment in Alabama’s roads and infrastructure. The Alliance monitors the needs of Alabama’s transportation network, communicates those needs to the public and identifies opportunities to make immediate, critical improvements. By repairing and maintaining existing roads and committing to new priority projects, the Alliance aims to protect Alabama’s citizens, generate economic growth and improve quality of life. For more information, visit alabamaroads.org.
The following Alliance members endorse this call-to-action:
The Business Council of Alabama, the Chamber of Commerce Association of Alabama, the Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama, the Greater Shelby County Chamber of Commerce, the Birmingham Business Alliance, the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce, the South Baldwin Chamber of Commerce, the Albertville Chamber of Commerce, the Decatur-Morgan County Chamber of Commerce, the Dothan Area Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Jackson County Chamber of Commerce, the Opelika Chamber of Commerce, the Prattville Area Chamber of Commerce, Lake Guntersville Chamber of Commerce, North Baldwin Chamber of Commerce, the Alabama Retail Association, the Alabama Trucking Association, the Alabama Road Builders Association, the Economic Development Association of Alabama, the Association of County Commissions of Alabama, the Coalition for Regional Transportation, the Associated General Contractors, the Associated Builders and Contractors, the Alabama Asphalt Pavement Association, the American Association of Engineering Companies of Alabama, the American Society of Civil Engineers – Alabama Chapter, Alabama Bridge Contractors Association, the Coastal Alabama Partnership, Hunt Refining Company, Medical Association of Alabama, Sain Associates, Mobile Asphalt Company, LLC., Wiregrass Construction Company, Inc., and the Alabama Concrete Industries Association.