The Mobile City Council unanimously approved a resolution Tuesday in support of Amtrak’s return of passenger rail service to Mobile. Mobile now joins a coalition of Gulf Coast cities in support of service from New Orleans, Louisiana, to Orlando, Florida. Mayor Sandy Stimpson applauded the move.
“A Gulf Coast passenger rail service will facilitate job creation, enhance tourism and reduce environmental and roadway impacts,” Stimpson said. “This service will not only connect cities across the Gulf Coast, but will also link Mobile to the Midwest, West Coast and across the nation. It will benefit all of our citizens, but especially those with limited transportation options or physical challenges.”
Councilwoman Bess Rich and Councilman Levon Manzie each said they were excited to support the resolution. Rich said she hoped tax increment financing funds could be used to pay for any construction or upgrades needed for a train station facility.
Manzie said alternate forms of transportation are important to residents.
“Citizens want to see us move in this direction,” he said.
In other business, Councilman Fred Richardson announced a Tuesday, Aug. 2, meeting of the public services committee to discuss changes to a city ordinance that would force utility companies to pay for resurfacing work when they file for a permit to cut into public streets.
Richardson said when utility companies need to cut into asphalt to do repairs or installations, they should be responsible for more than just a patch.
“We’re spending millions of dollars on resurfacing and a lot of that money is due to utilities cutting into the streets,” he said. “They cut and cut and cut us to pieces. They’re tearing up our streets.”
In anticipation of the meeting next month, Richardson requested records related to all utilities that have been permitted to cut into public streets citywide going back five years. Richardson said he hadn’t yet received the records and threatened a subpoena to get them. Council President Gina Gregory said the administration had provided estimates, but that wasn’t what Richardson is seeking.
Executive Director of Planning and Development Dianne Irby told Richardson that to go back five years would be cumbersome. She added that she thought the records he was given had filled the request.
At Gregory’s urging, Richardson agreed to request the records going back only a year to lessen the burden on city staff.
Rich once again announced a public safety committee meeting to discuss the Mobile Police Department citizens’ advisory board would be held at 2:30 p.m. Thursday, July 28, in the ceremonial courtroom at Government Plaza.