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January 16, 2020 2:15 PM, EST

Alabama to Fund 31 Road Projects With $7 Million From Increased Fuel Tax

Interchange near Birmingham, Ala.Highway interchange near Birmingham, Ala. (Jay Reeves/Associated Press)

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Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey recently announced that $7 million will be awarded to cities and counties to support road and bridge projects.

The funding, announced Jan. 16, was made available through the Annual Grant Program administered by the Alabama Department of Transportation.

The funding will support 31 projects statewide.

“An investment in our roads and bridges is an investment in the future of Alabama,” Ivey said in a press release. “These $7 million in funds will go a long way in helping communities across the state address various road and bridge projects.”

One grant award, for $250,000, will support resurfacing work on county Road 43, which serves as a connector between state routes in western Alabama’s Choctaw County. Another $250,000 award will go toward resurfacing and drainage work on a downtown artery in Hanceville, which is 44 miles north of Birmingham.

In the City of Dora, $250,000 will assist with a bridge replacement on a street that winds into the downtown area. Dora is 27 miles northwest of Birmingham. A $195,000 award will be used to add a left turn lane to a road in Vance, which is 25 miles east of Tuscaloosa.

The Annual Grant Program sets aside $10 million a year for local road and bridge projects. According to the press release, the remaining $3 million will be dispersed through a second award cycle later this year.

The state’s League of Municipalities and Association of County Commissions will notify cities and counties about the award cycle. All projects are expected to be under contract at the end of this calendar year.

Kay Ivey

Gov. Kay Ivey by Vasha Hunt/AP

The Rebuild Alabama Act, signed in March, required ALDOT to establish the Annual Grant Program. The legislation included a fuel tax increase, which is indexed to keep up with the rising cost of rebuilding roads. Effective Sept. 1, the gasoline and diesel tax rates went up 6 cents per gallon. The tax rate will go up 2 cents Oct. 1, 2020, and another 2 cents Oct. 1, 2021.

In Alabama, the current tax rate is 25 cents per gallon for diesel and 24 cents per gallon for gasoline. The revenue generated from these taxes creates 80% of Alabama’s transportation funding.

“I am proud to see the continuing positive ramifications from the Rebuild Alabama Act,” Ivey said. “Soon, every Alabama citizen will feel the benefits from this additional investment in our infrastructure.”

The American Society of Civil Engineers’ most recent infrastructure report card, issued in 2015, graded Alabama an overall C-. Bridges earned a C- and roads received a D+. According to The Road Information Program, a transportation research group, some 30% of Alabama’s roads and highways are in poor or mediocre condition because of insufficient funding.

Alabama is one of several states that has enacted fuel tax increases over the past year. In Ohio, legislators approved a 10.5-cent increase to the fuel tax rate. Under Illinois Gov. Jay “J.B.” Pritzker’s Rebuild Illinois plan, the state’s fuel tax rate increased to 45.5 cents per gallon for diesel and 38 cents per gallon for gasoline.

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