The Alabama Department of Transportation is planning for a $6 toll along the proposed Mobile River Bridge and Bayway project, but local drivers might see some relief if and when the project comes to fruition.
Mobile River Bridge Project Director Edwin Perry told assembled members of the media Wednesday, July 17, that frequent users could pay $90 per month for unlimited crossings. If commuters use the bridge to go back and forth to work on 20 days per month, Perry said, the toll price would average out to $2.25 per trip across.
In a tweet, Sen. Doug Jones (D-Mountain Brook) criticized the proposed tolls.
“This is just way too much for folks to pay out of pocket. It’s another tax on families who just can’t afford it,” he tweeted. “A new bridge is badly needed, but ALDOT needs to find a way to build it without reaching into the pockets of working families.”
Those commuters participating in the $90 per month pass would have to purchase a transponder, which will be made available before construction is completed, he said.
According to Perry, ALDOT will also offer a 15-percent discount to frequent users — those who use the bridge more than four times per month, but don’t use it enough to warrant the pass.
The reduction would apply to class 1 vehicles only, which includes cars, pickup trucks, minivans, sport utility vehicles and motorcycles. If a vehicle is towing a trailer, the discount wouldn’t apply.
ALDOT also revealed the proposed charges associated with segmented tolls. The toll prices will go from $6 to $2 depending on which portion of the project a driver travels, Perry said.
Perry confirmed tolling would not start until the project was near completion, which is expected to be 2025.
ALDOT has applied and been rejected twice for federal INFRA grants, Perry said. The agency asked first for $500 million in funding for the project worth roughly $2 billion. The agency then asked for $250 million and was rejected. Perry said ALDOT should hear whether it was rewarded a $150 million for the project by the end of the month.
If the project is awarded federal grants, Perry said any tolls associated with it could be reduced, as the public portion of funding would be increased. However, a toll would still be placed on the project, he said.
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