Senator Looks to Future on Political and Practical Fronts

Sen. Clay Scofield today told the Business Council of Alabama’s Tuesday briefing to look forward and invest in Alabama’s infrastructure and to put recent political issues in the rear-view mirror.

Sen. Scofield, R-Guntersville, addressed the change in gubernatorial administrations that occurred Monday with the resignation of Governor Robert Bentley and the installation of Lt. Gov. Kay Ivey as the state’s 54th governor.

“I believe in Governor Ivey,” Sen. Scofield said. “I believe she’s very capable. Hopefully we can now put this all behind us and move the state forward. We need to look forward and not in the past.”

Today’s briefing was sponsored by the Alliance for Alabama’s Infrastructure (AAI), a grassroots advocacy coalition focused on fixing Alabama’s infrastructure crisis by identifying financially responsible investments, reforms, and long-term solutions for Alabama’s transportation infrastructure and communicating this message to policy makers and the public.

Sen. Scofield was introduced by BCA deputy chief of staff and AAI Executive Director Drew Harrell.

Sen. Scofield, a north Alabama agri-businessman, is in his second legislative term and is chairman of the Senate Confirmations Committee.

An infrastructure issue important to Sen. Scofield is the ability to be able to connect rural Alabama to high speed Internet. Sen. Scofield likens broadband access in importance to infrastructure just as water, power, and sewer are.

While broadband access is taken for granted in urban Alabama, “Rural Alabama needs it, too,” he said.

His bill, SB 253, the Alabama Renewal Act, is on the Senate calendar.

SB 253 would provide a tax credit of 10 percent for broadband technology investment, capped at $20 million a year. “If we max out the $20 million Alabama will realize $200 million in investment in rural Alabama infrastructure,” he said.

Sen. Scofield said he supports the AAI-backed HB 487 that would update Alabama’s investment in road and bridge infrastructure by backing a $2.4 billion bond issue for cities, counties, and the state in order to enhance safety, improve congestion, connectivity, and, importantly, improve road conditions to decrease wear and tear on vehicles.

HB 487 sponsored by Rep. Bill Poole, R-Tuscaloosa, would increase the motor fuel tax by 4 cents per gallon on Sept. 1 and another 2 cents two years later. The last time Alabama’s infrastructure investment was updated was in 1992.

The cost to motorists would be about $3.50 a month, Sen. Scofield said. That’s 12 cents a day. “We’re spending more on our cars and trucks in upkeep and wear and tear than $3.50 a month,” he said.

HB 487 was scheduled for a public hearing today in the House Transportation, Utilities and Infrastructure Committee.

“We really need to invest in infrastructure in Alabama,” Sen. Scofield said.