Throughout the first half of 2016, the Coalition for Regional Transportation (CRT) has served as a proud member of the Alliance for Alabama Infrastructure (AAI). AAI is a grassroots advocacy coalition that promotes financially-responsible investment in Alabama’s roads and infrastructure.
The Alliance monitors the needs of Alabama’s transportation network, communicates those needs to the public and identifies opportunities to make immediate, critical improvements. By repairing and maintaining existing roads and committing to new priority projects, the Alliance aims to protect Alabama’s citizens, generate economic growth and improve quality of life.
During Alabama’s 2016 legislative session, members of AAI worked diligently to advocate for responsible investments in Alabama’s roads and bridges. Specifically, the Alliance encouraged lawmakers to support both House Bill 394 and Senate Bill 180.
House Bill 394 was introduced by Representative Mac McCutcheon, and it was designed to increase revenue for transportation infrastructure. Currently, Alabama collects revenue for roads and bridges through a gasoline excise tax that was last increased in 1992. Although the revenue stream was sufficient in the early 1990s, many things have changed in recent years. For instance, cars now get additional miles per gallon and construction costs have nearly doubled. That said, people are not driving any less. In fact, Americans traveled more than 3.1 trillion miles in 2015. House Bill 394 aimed to increase the gasoline excise tax based on a composite average of Alabama’s neighboring states. Through the average rate, the legislation would generate additional revenue and increase economic competitiveness throughout the southeast. Unfortunately, the bill did not pass.
Senate Bill 180 saw a much different trajectory. The bill was introduced by Senator Gerald Dial, and it focused on protecting new revenue for roads and bridges. In recent years, many Alabama citizens have expressed concerns about how new infrastructure revenue would be spent by the Alabama Department of Transportation. In response to that concern, Senator Dial introduced a measure that was designed to ensure that any revenue generated for transportation infrastructure would be spent on relevant projects. Thankfully, lawmakers saw value in the legislation and passed it.
The 2016 session has concluded, but that does not mean the work of the Alliance is complete. The passage of Senate Bill 180 was a step in the right direction, but Alabama is still lacking the revenue necessary to maintain our roadways and pursue new capacity projects.
With that in mind, CRT will continue to support AAI’s efforts, promoting financially-responsible investments in Alabama’s roads and infrastructure.
Our Roads. Our Responsibility. Our Future.