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New Dashboard Highlights Benefits of Highway Investment in Alabama

Thu July 30, 2020 - Southeast Edition

A first-of-its-kind interactive tool that provides the public and elected officials a clear look at how and where U.S. states invest their transportation tax dollars has revealed that Alabama leveraged $731.4 million in federal funds to advance $902.6 million in highway improvements during fiscal year (FY) 2018.

The American Road & Transportation Builders Association's (ARTBA) "Highway Dashboard: A 50-State Guide to the Benefits of Federal Investment" displays information on more than 367 Alabama projects that moved forward in FY 2018. Based on Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) data, the dashboard provides the same information for all states.

The top five projects receiving federal funding in Alabama during 2018 included:

  • Interstate 65 add lanes from State Route 3 (U.S. Highway 31) to County Route 52, Phase 2.
  • Pavement rehabilitation on I-459 from south of CR 52 at McCalla to north of SR 150.
  • A SR 8 (U.S. 80) replacement bridge, and relief bridges over Little Uchee Creek.
  • The SR 158 extension from east of Lott Road (SR 217) to the Schillinger Road grade, drain, base pave and bridge.
  • The I-85 pavement preservation and preventive maintenance from Alabama SR 8 (the U.S. 80 East Bypass at Exit 6) to SR 8 (U.S. 80, Exit 11 at Mitylene, Ala).

"This dashboard helps shift the conversation from how much each state gets to specific outcomes and benefits," ARTBA President Dave Bauer said. "Such transparency and accountability will help residents better understand the value they are getting from infrastructure investments."

The current federal FAST Act surface transportation law expires Sept. 30. As Congress continues working on a new long-term bill, the dashboard will help members of Congress and their staffs to learn more about projects and how federal funds are being utilized in their respective states, ARTBA said in a press release.

"The dashboard spotlights the important role the federal highway program plays in our state," added Tom Layfield, executive director of the Alabama Road Builders Association. (ARBA). "Passage of a long-term bill by Congress with increased investment is the right medicine to significantly boost our economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic."

In FY 2018, 74 percent of projects costs were for reconstruction or repair work on existing highways, according to the ARTBA analysis. Added capacity (13 percent of funds), planning, design and construction engineering (4 percent) and right of way purchases (2 percent), are among 12 ways the state spent its transportation dollars.

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