Senator Richard Shelby Praises Northern Beltline

Recently, Alabama Senator Richard Shelby acknowledged the importance and impact of the Northern Beltline.

"Some people say it’s controversial. I don’t know what’s controversial about it. We should have built it 20 years ago." - Senator Richard Shelby

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2012 State and Federal Scene

"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.

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Status Update


In June, ALDOT filed application with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the permit required before beginning construction on the 3.4 miles of the Northern Beltline between AL Highway 79 and AL Highway 75, the first portion slated for construction.

On Friday, December 21, ALDOT submitted the final data and information necessary to meet the permit requirements under the Clean Water Act.

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2012 Annual Report

The interstate highway system, born in the 1940s from the discerning mind of the future President Dwight D. Eisenhower, has been an extraordinary engine driving economic growth and enriching quality-of life in America ever since its launch in 1956.

The interstate highway system democratized mobility in the United States, endowing virtually all Americans with the freedom to move quickly to any destination within their communities, throughout the country, inexpensively, and when their individual needs required it. America became a nation on wheels — reaping benefits from an individual mobility that are unrivaled anywhere in the world.

A vast region of the United States — 205,000 square miles with 25 million people, known as Appalachia — was not included in the national interstate highway system. The terrain is rugged. Building roads in such terrain is expensive, thus much of this region was excluded from the original interstate system.


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Letter From The Chairman 2012

Mike ThompsonAlthough we cannot yet drive by and see physical construction activity along the Northern Beltline route, 2012 brought significant accomplishments that should allow us to do exactly that in 2013.

On March 29, the Federal Highway Administration (FHwA) officially approved the Federal Environmental Impact Study Reevaluation (FEISR), the most significant regulatory requirement in advancing the project to construction.

The FEISR incorporates all of the information in ALDOT’s prior 306-page Federal Environmental Impact Study (FEIS) and only adds any new information to the FEIS. The FEISR is a 1,480-page document that not only cleared the required regulatory and legal process of the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) and FHwA, but was also reviewed and approved by multiple other federal, state, and local agencies according to their areas of expertise.

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