"To move ahead, the Birmingham area needs to move together. The Northern Beltline will put us on a sure path forward to more growth and opportunity. We should strongly unite in support of this transformational project for our region because we simply cannot afford to risk being passed by." - Congressman Spencer Bachus
In late June, the U.S. Congress showed its continuing commitment to the ADHS with passage of the highway reauthorization bill. A provision in the new highway reauthorization bill provides 100% federal funding for ADHS highway projects, eliminating all requirements for state matching funds for ADHS projects for a 10 year period.
"It would be economically, I think, the best news you’ve had since probably since you found coal, limestone and iron ore." - Senator Richard Shelby
Prior to the 2012 legislation, the ARC provided a funding stream to build the Northern Beltline. That funding stream represented an 80% federal investment that required a 20% match from State funds. The new highway bill (MAP-21), however, removes the required State match for a10-year period. In other words, up to the $600 million total that would have been required from the State was released from ADHS obligation. ALDOT may now determine how and where their State funds should and will be spent.
"I know it’s going to take a long time to build it, it’s going to take years but we need to get started on it. But I believe we can start on this project in the early part of next year." - Governor Robert Bentley, Dec 2012
Congress underlined the priority it places on completion of the ADHS by stating in MAP-21 “…the timely completion of the Appalachian Development Highway System is a transportation priority in the national interest.” To further ensure that states complete all ADHS projects, Congress also included a requirement that within one year each state must establish a plan for the completion of the designated corridors of the Appalachian development highway system within the State. The completion plans must include annual performance targets and a target completion date.
"This project provides funding for important infrastructure development and serves as a vital source of jobs for workers and families across the state of Alabama,” - Congresswoman Terri Sewell