Lawmakers from both Baldwin and Mobile counties are appealing to two trucking industry lobbyists in a quest to haul in federal funding for a new Interstate 10 Mobile River Bridge and Bayway project.
“We were hoping we could enlist your help in putting pressure on some of our congressional and national leaders to help prioritize this particular project, especially from the other I-10 states like Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California,” one of the letter states. “This benefits the truckers in your organization just as much as it does our local residents and the many travelers along I-10. We appreciate any and all help you and your organization could be willing to give us on this.”
Four-term State Rep. Joe Faust, R-Fairhope, led the effort with the letters and was joined by Baldwin Reps. Steve McMillan, R-Foley, Harry Shiver, R- Bay Minette, Alan Baker, R-Brewton, and Matt Simpson, R-Daphne. Mobile lawmakers who also signed were Reps. Barbara Drummond, D-Mobile, Chip Brown, R-Mobile, Shane Stringer, R-Citronelle, Victor Gaston, R-Mobile, Chris Pringle, R-Mobile, and senators David Sessions, R-Grand Bay, and Jack Williams, R-Georgetown.
“I felt this was something we could do to help further spur the federal government to step up and help us with the funding for this project,” Faust said. “The trucking industry is the lifeblood of our country, and those truckers and the organizations that help support them can certainly carry a lot of weight up there in Washington [D.C.]. We’re hoping to work with any ally we can to help make this project a reality, so the trucking lobby seemed like an easy, natural ally in this quest.”
Faust said it was a team effort from representatives from both sides of Mobile Bay. The letters were addressed to Chris Spear of American Trucking Associations and David Owen of the National Association of Small Trucking Companies.
“We’ve had bipartisan support on this from both the Baldwin and Mobile delegations,” Faust said. “It’s gratifying to see so many of our local legislators signing on to this, and I’m hopeful it can help have a positive impact on the funding needs we have here.”
A new bridge project favored by the state was turned away by bitter local opposition after a toll plan of $6 each way was announced to fund the project. State Sen. Chris Elliott, R-Daphne, was a leader in the effort to find alternative funding or at least a more affordable toll. He says in retaliation Gov. Kay Ivey kicked him off of the Alabama Transportation Rehabilitation and Improvement Program-II Committee. Elliott didn’t sign either letter to the trucking lobbyists.
With this new effort, Faust said, his group is reaching out to state officials and Ivey and is getting positive feedback.
“I’ve been in contact with the governor’s office and spoken with her chief of staff, former Congressman Jo Bonner, who was supportive of us doing this,” Faust said. “Everyone seems to be on the same page with this; this is a project we have to have, and the federal government ought to be doing more to help with this project.”
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