OpEd: President’s Infrastructure Focus Good for Alabama; We Must Be Ready

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey

By: Alabama Governor Kay Ivey

The need for infrastructure improvements and advancements across the State of Alabama is critical.

The deterioration of our roads, bridges, waterways, and ports hinders public safety, economic growth, and quality of life. The importance of gaining a portion of the Federal infrastructure investment and putting projects in place to further the advancement of our roads, bridges, waterways, and modern infrastructure such as high-speed internet and telecommunications, is monumental in bettering our future and not leaving these needs for future generations.

I proudly joined President Donald Trump in Washington last week as he designated an entire week to focus on the nation’s failing infrastructure. I appreciate the President taking this important step in leading our country forward. For a state to take advantage of the President’s plan, it must be “ready, willing, and able” to make a financial investment of its own.

Investing more in our state’s infrastructure is simply a good business decision for Alabama.

The roads in Alabama received a D+ rating in the report card of the American Society of Civil Engineers in 2015. The “poor quality” of roads throughout the state hurts our advancement of business production and transportation, which in turn hurts our economy. Roads throughout the state also need improvement to make day to day traveling safer for our citizens. There were 4,280 traffic fatalities from 2011 to 2015, then from 2015 to 2016 Alabama saw a 25% increase in traffic deaths.

Our state’s bridges only earned a grade of C, partly because 20% of them are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete, according to the National Bridge Inventory. The Association of County Engineers of Alabama estimated in 2011 that the state spends more than $2 million annually detouring school buses around weight-restricted bridges.

It is simply unacceptable that our school buses must travel miles out of their way to avoid failing bridges and that the wheels of commerce are slowed by failing roads.

Many of these are in rural areas and we as a state must step up to address these issues, and shouldn’t wait on the federal government to do it. We can do better. We must do better.

Also, many communities throughout the state are experiencing major problems with their water delivery systems. They are faced with broken, cracked, clogged, and disjointed pipes resulting in families not having access to necessary water supplies. We must support our fellow Alabamians as they address these pressing needs.

We should also consider one of the largest deep water ports in the country, which is in Mobile. It is a major hub for the shipping and moving of critical commodities for our state on a daily basis, providing jobs and the opportunity for businesses to expand on a large scale. For Mobile – and Alabama as a whole – to stay a key player in the global economy we must continue to improve our ports and waterways.

Investing in our infrastructure will not only provide increased safety to our citizens but will help advance our economy through providing opportunities to our citizens, and ease the logistical burdens created by job growth.

We have abundant resources from our ports on the Gulf to companies growing in our cities to the north – and everywhere in between. In order to keep these treasures, attract new businesses and create more jobs in Sweet Home Alabama, we must provide the best infrastructure possible.

We seek these vital infrastructure improvements in hopes that we will continue to grow the Great State of Alabama, and in turn, rebuild the United States of America.

I support President Trump’s efforts to pass a national infrastructure bill, and I promise the people of Alabama, I will do everything in my power to make sure we are ready to get our fair share once the plan is in place.

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