From Tribune staff reports
MONTGOMERY — Gov. Kay Ivey delivered her State of the State address Tuesday night to the legislature, state supreme court justices and guests in Montgomery. In her speech, Ivey touted state progress citing the plan to use $400 million in federal Covid relief money to build new prisons and her Rebuild Alabama plan which resulted from the gas tax hike.
Ivey said almost all of Alabama’s 67 counties had benefited from the road and bridge building project. She mentioned the West Alabama Corridor which will provide a 4-lane highway from Tuscaloosa to Mobile and a plan to expand I-10 in Mobile to 6 lanes before noting a major project in Trussville.
“And tonight, I am proud to announce that we will be widening I-59 from Chalkville Mountain Road to I-459, in east Jefferson County near Trussville, from four lanes to six lanes,” Ivey said.
Ivey did not provide a start date for the road widening during her speech.
The Port of Mobile, which saw record container traffic last month, will also benefit from the rebuild Alabama project.
“With the current global supply issues, having an international resource in the Port of Mobile is ever more critical,” Ivey said. “As a matter of fact, our exports are up almost 25%.”
Ivey took the opportunity to take some shots at Washington D.C. and pledged to continue along with Attorney General Steve Marshall to push back against federal vaccine mandates.
The address, which often resembled a campaign speech, included some puzzling comments, as well.
“Thanks to the wise approach by the Legislature over the years in saving dollars and putting these funds to good use, during my time as governor, we have not once used the word ‘proration’ or spent beyond our means,” Ivey said.
Changes to legislative budgeting eliminated proration years before Ivey took office.
Ivey also addressed education in the speech and referenced the Alabama literacy Act which requires Alabama students to read at a third grade level before being promoted to fourth grade.
“In Alabama, our students will be focused on core curriculum,” Ivey said. “That means being proficient readers by the end of third grade.”
However, following the most recent state school board meeting, Ivey said she would push the legislature to delay the Literacy Act set to begin this year until more data is collected. The delay would mean social promotions for Alabama students reading below grade level would continue.