Alabama bridges to get attention in upcoming session

| 12/6/2007

A package of bills expected to draw consideration in the Alabama Legislature next year is intended to help replace bad bridges throughout the state.

One proposal would allot a $275 million bond issue for structurally deficient county bridges. The funding would go for fixing 1,576 bridges with low sufficiency ratings.

If approved, it would be the second bond issue for bridges in the past decade. In 2000, counties throughout the state opted to replace some of the aging and insufficiently rated bridges in rural areas. However, there wasn’t enough bond money to replace them all.

The state would need $415 million next year to replace or upgrade all bridges deemed hazardous by county engineers, the Tuscaloosa News reported.

The bond issue will be part of a four-bill package. Other parts of the package include an indexed fuel tax, local fuel tax options, and moving the point of collection of motor fuel taxes back from distributors to refineries.

Gov. Bob Riley’s administration has not come out in favor of or in opposition to the package. The governor supposedly is studying the proposal.

The measures can be considered during the regular session that begins in February 2008. The bond issue would require a statewide vote if the Legislature signs off on it.

To view other legislative activities of interest for Alabama in 2007, click here.

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor