By John Schneidawind, vice president of public affairs, ARTBA
Alabama is experiencing a boom in much-needed road and highway construction funded by increased state gas tax revenues.
The Rebuild Alabama Act passed last year by the Republican-controlled legislature and signed by Gov. Kay Ivey (R) raised the gas tax 6 cents to 24 cents per gallon. It increased to 26 cents on Oct. 1, and climbs to 28 cents in October 2021. The 10 cent per gallon increase also applies to diesel fuel and is projected to raise a total of about $320 million annually. Through August, state gas and diesel tax receipts stood at about $686 million, up about $150 million over last year, a 28 percent increase.
State legislation directs the money from the added tax to the Rebuild Alabama Fund, which restricts using the proceeds for anything other than road and bridge projects. The Alabama Department of Transportation receives 67 percent of the money, with 25 percent to counties and 8 percent to municipalities.
Among more than 70 projects, state offices point to these five major investments:
- Expanding Interstate 565 from four lanes to six lanes from I-65 to County Line Road in Huntsville, which will improve the daily commute for thousands of drivers and improve access to a new Toyota/Mazda plant. Estimated cost: $17 million.
- Expanding the I-65 interchange in Tanner and widening Browns Ferry Road from U.S. 31 to I-65 in Huntsville. Estimated cost: $27 million.
- Adding lanes to U.S. 82 in Prattville from Alabama Highway 14 to U.S. 31, which will relieve a bottleneck and improve access for logging trucks to an International Paper plant. Estimated cost: $19 million.
- Expanding Tuscaloosa’s McFarland Boulevard (U.S. 82) from Alabama Highway 69 to Rice Mine Road, a stretch that ranks among Alabama’s 20 busiest four-lane roads. Estimated cost: $31 million.
- Widening U.S. 411 from Turkeytown to Cherokee County Road 20 – one of 16 counties with no four-lane access to an interstate. Estimated cost: $43 million.
(PHOTO: Alabama state capitol in Montgomery.)