The impact Trump’s infrastructure plan could have on Alabama
President Elect Donald Trump made infrastructure a major part of his pitch to voters.
Now, as Mr. Trump prepares to take the oval office, Alabama leaders are talking about the potential impact of his plan here at home.
What many agree on is this: we don't yet have enough details of the plan to know what the exact impact will be.
But, the Alliance for Alabama’s Infrastructure expects it to help.
“He’s talked about having a deficit neutral plan of over half a trillion dollars invested,” said AAI Spokesman Jim Page. “He’s talked about alternative ways of doing projects such as public private partnerships so we think there’s a lot of opportunity for Alabama.”
Page says there’s a great need in Alabama.
“We have over a thousand bridges that are in such poor condition that school busses can’t cross them safely,” said Page. “…We have 16 counties in Alabama that don’t have basic four lane access to an interstate highway so that puts them at an extreme disadvantage as far as an economic development standpoint.”
A new paper from Trump's advisers call for using federal tax credits to promote private sector investments.
Page acknowledges that could mean new toll roads.
“That's been the only exposure we've had in Alabama to public private partnerships is through toll roads,” said Page. “There are examples in South Alabama as you go to the beach. There's an example right in Tuscaloosa County with the western bypass.”
As the conversation unfolds in Washington, Page hopes it also progresses in Montgomery. Alabama hasn’t raised the gas tax, a major way to fund road projects, since 1992.
“We think this is an issue that has really been an issue under the radar for far too long,” said Page. “Again, we haven’t addressed this in a significant way in Alabama in a quarter century. So we’re pretty far behind the eight ball so to speak.”
Talks of raising Alabama’s gas tax have been floating around for years in Montgomery.
ABC 33/40 spoke with several state lawmakers while writing this story. They all had a different opinion of how far the proposal may make it in the 2017 legislative session.