By CAROLINE BECK, Alabama Daily News
MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Alabama counties have released their 2020 road and bridge constructions plans to be funded by the recent 6-cent increase on Alabama’s gasoline tax.
Each county’s governing body posted their plans on the Association of County Commissions of Alabama’s website. The plans are required by the Rebuild Alabama Act, passed during this year’s legislative session, to show how the money is being spent.
The detailed lists of projects are to be prioritized in the coming year based on anticipated revenue and to make the plans visible to the public.
“We have consistently said that it’s essential the public have immediate access to how the new revenue will be used,” said Sonny Brasfield, ACCA executive director. “County governments have worked collectively so they can be responsible and accountable with each dollar.”
Brasfield said the ACCA will release a statewide overview of the projects in the coming days, and when project specifications and bid announcements are available, that information will also be available on the association’s website.
“The association is committed to providing the public with timely and accurate information now and moving forward,” he said.
A spokesperson from the Alabama League of Municipalities said that information about specific cities’ project plan would be posted in their city halls or on their local websites. The League hopes by 2020 to have a portal where all the projects can be submitted and accessed by the public.
When the full 10-cent increase of the gas tax is implemented by 2022, it is projected to raise about $320 million a year for road and bridge projects.
The first five state projects were announced earlier this year by Gov. Kay Ivey and include projects in Limestone, Madison, Tuscaloosa, Cherokee and Autauga counties.
The 6-cent-increase started this month. Alabama cities and towns are expected to get an additional $26 million a year when the 10-cent increase is fully implemented. Counties will receive an additional $80 million.
The tax increase was a priority issue for the Republican-led Legislature this year after other attempts failed in recent years. The state’s 18-cent gas tax had remained unchanged since 1992. Of the 140 state legislators, 111 of them voted for the increase. Money for local road projects was a big incentive for them.