Alabama’s booming auto industry could soon have its own ‘roll-on, roll-off’ facility at the Port of Mobile
Alabama’s efforts to create a $60 million “roll-on, roll-off” facility at the Port of Mobile to serve the state’s growing automobile industry took two big steps forward during the past few days after nearly 70 percent of its costs were funded through enormous coastal and federal grants.
— $28.8 million was received from funds from the Deepwater Horizon settlement that’s been set aside for “programs, projects, and activities that restore and protect” the region, according to the Alabama Gulf Coast Recovery Council.
— $12.7 million in federal money came via a grant from a U.S. Department of Transportation program designed, according to a news release, to “increase safety, create jobs and modernize our country’s infrastructure.”
“Advancing the Port of Mobile is critical to driving economic success in our state,” said U.S. Senator Shelby, R-Tuscaloosa, when he announced the federal dollars last week. “We have one of the fastest growing harbors in the nation. This grant will help facilitate the demands of Alabama’s booming automotive industry.”
Shelby wrote a letter in October to U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao expressing his support for the port’s grant application, which was one of 41 projects across the nation to be approved for nearly half a billion dollars in funding last week.
“A new (roll-on, roll-off facility) not only expands the port’s capabilities to serve Alabama’s automotive industry, but is expected to generate new jobs and bring economic value to the state for the next 70 years,” said Jimmy Lyons, director of the Alabama State Port Authority, which must now fund the remaining $18.5 million in land and capital expenses.
The facility will serve much more than Alabama’s booming automobile industry, tough.
“We have a great deal of (automotive) manufacturing in the southeastern United States and a lot sits in Alabama,” Adams said. “We have a lot of manufacturing in Mexico. We have pretty good automotive supply chains in the Far East. All of a sudden these companies have been growing and the interest of U.S. producers to export more, they’d like to ship out of somewhere close.”
The news release from Shelby’s office said the facility is expected to be finished in late 2019.