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Alabama residents make it clear they want alternatives to tolls for funding bridge and road projects

By Paul DeMarco

This past week, Governor Kay Ivey officially announced the toll road project over Mobile Bay dead.

She made the dramatic declaration that the I-10 Mobile River Bridge and Bayway Project would not move forward after local elected officials voted to remove the project from short term regional transportation plans.

This should not surprise anyone as Alabama residents do not like toll roads, even if that means more infrastructure projects for the state.

Coastal residents were resolute that if the only way the bridge was going to be built over Mobile Bay was with a toll, then the local residents did not want the new bridge.

There are already three toll bridges in the state, which are located in Baldwin, Montgomery and Tuscaloosa Counties. 

There has been talk that some future major road and bridge projects in the state would require financing by tolls. Across the country, private-public partnerships are being used across the country to fund similar type of infrastructure.

Mobile and Baldwin County residents made it clear to state and local leaders that they were strongly opposed to the $6.00 one way proposed toll that would have been used to help pay for the project. It is refreshing that elected officials actually listened to their constituents.

I predict the Alabama Department of Transportation will now hesitate before they suggest any more toll roads in the near future.

Based on the state’s ever-increasing infrastructure needs, there are roads and bridges that may need to be built.  However, the public is demanding that leaders look for alternatives other than expensive tolls and new taxes. 

Paul DeMarco is a former member of the Alabama House of Representatives

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