To the editor:
I am writing to you about the tolls that are being proposed for the I-10 Mobile River Bridge project.
I am opposed to the tolls. Based on what I have been able to find out about the financing of the project, we are not getting direct Federal funding for the project and that about 70% of the funding for the project will be borrowed from various sources and that this funding is what is going to be paid back by tolls.
I have emailed of Congressman Byrne about this, asking why we have not gotten Federal funding for the project.
He did reply, saying that the tolls were needed to pay for the state portion of the project.
Today, Congressman Byrne was on the Midday Mobile talk show on 106.5FM promoting his campaign for Senate. The subject of the Bridge tolls and the lack of direct Federal funding came up. Congressman Byrne said that the State of Alabama and ALDOT had said that they didn’t want any Federal funding for the Bridge Project, that they were going to finance the project and pay for it with tolls.
Something does not add up in all this. I can not imagine the State not wanting direct Federal funding of the project. Can your paper find out who, if anyone, at the State level said they did not want direct Federal Funding. If that is not the case, could you then ask Congressman Byrne why he said this and why he is not doing anything to prevent the tolls.
I am just a resident of Mobile. This Bridge Project to me stinks of corruption. The Bridge Concessionaire stands to make double digit returns on their investment, They are getting a sweetheart deal by being able to put tolls on the existing I-10 tunnel. How are they even legally able to do that?
From what I understand, they are going to pick a Concessionaire soon, by the end of the summer. By then I think it will be too late to stop this (who is going to give up that kind of return) and the people of this area will be paying the tolls for the next 55 years.
Stephen C. Flock
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