Every day, every single Alabamian is affected by the lackluster and deteriorating conditions of our roads and bridges. The statistics are astounding and the costs continue to mount in the form of lost opportunity, lost time, and most importantly, lost lives. And once you learn the facts, you’ll definitely agree, too. Governor Kay Ivey’s infrastructure improvement bill is what’s required to fix these problems and Rebuild Alabama.
Alabama has more than 16,000 bridges, and 45% of them have outlived their recommended lifespan. More than 15 million vehicles pass over a structurally deficient or functionally obsolete bridge each day.
Purchasing power for the state has been significantly decreased. Transportation construction costs have nearly doubled since the last major road funding increase in 1992. Fuel efficiency in motor vehicles has also risen by nearly 25%.
When considering new investment, companies rate roads and infrastructure as a significant deciding factor. However, Alabama now has the worst road and infrastructure funding mechanism of any Southern state, behind both Mississippi and Louisiana.
Alabama has more than 213k public lane miles, 73% of which are in rural areas. For a typical county road, the recommended resurfacing period is 15 years. County governments currently operate on a 56-year resurfacing schedule.
Currently, 60% of Alabama’s road costs are covered by the US government, largely through a matching federal fund program. So for every dollar we raise, we get $1.50 additionally from the federal government.
When you and your loved ones hit the road, safety is a top priority. Unfortunately, it’s also a higher risk. In the state of Alabama, there were 1,089 traffic fatalities in 2016 alone, and a third of those were caused by deficient roadways. That amounts to one person killed every day. In fact, Alabama drivers are more likely to be killed in a traffic accident than drivers in 44 other states. When lives are on the line every day, there’s no excuse for avoiding the issue.
Yes, Alabama’s roads are in bad shape right now—but what about the future? If our highway infrastructure continues to pale in comparison to the rest of the country, what does that mean for Alabama? Truth is, highway accessibility is a top priority for economic developers looking to bring new business and industry to our state. Without a stronger network of roadways throughout the state, our local economy will take the hit in the coming years, and that means thousands of jobs disappearing.
Here in Alabama, we take care of each other. It’s in our nature. And right now, we all need each other to give this issue a good look and come to the right conclusion. Because we’re underfunding it, and it’s taking a toll on our quality of life. The last time we increased our road and bridge funding, the year was 1992. The issue has come up since then, but we’ve never agreed on it. But the time to do it is now. We can’t kick the can any longer.