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Ainsworth: I-10 Mobile Bridge state’s ‘number-one project’ — Likens to new $700M Birmingham I-65, I-20/59 interchange as proof infrastructure can be bonded

During an appearance on Mobile radio FM Talk 106.5’s “Midday Mobile” on Wednesday, Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth elaborated on remarks he made earlier in the week pledging to fund for the I-10 Mobile River and Bayway project.

According to the lieutenant governor, there was an economic case to be made for the project and why it should be made what he deemed to be the “number-one infrastructure project” in Alabama.

Ainsworth also told host Sean Sullivan that financing for the new bridge could be done through a bond issue, noting how the new $700 million-plus I-20/59 and I-65 interchange in downtown Birmingham, which opened in 2020, was financed.

“I’m for getting the bridge done however we need to get it done,” he said. “And so, I’m committed. To me, that is the number-one infrastructure project in our state, and you know, went through that. And certainly, the state is doing well right now from a financial standpoint. Our economy is doing well. Our budgets are doing well. So it is certainly within the realm of possibility that you can bond all or part of that. Obviously, you’re going to need a partnership with the federal government. Whatever the locals down there decide that’s best, you know, I’m going to support. But I want the listeners to know I’m committed to making sure we get this project done. And it should have already been done. It’s a priority because that’s going to continue to open up commerce when you look at what’s going on with the port, people coming to Baldwin and Mobile Counties, and having to go through there. It’s a huge bottleneck, and we’ve got to fix it.”

“I’m committed to fixing it but also want people to understand that in Birmingham, you know, they had the huge interchange — my recollection was $700-800 million,” Ainsworth continued. “They bonded it. That’s how they paid for it. And so, this idea that on infrastructure you can’t bond projects and pay for it. You know, it’s been done before, and I certainly think that will be part of it. I look forward to working with all the local leaders there — state leaders, federal leaders — to make sure we make that project a reality.”

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and the University of South Alabama, the editor of Breitbart TV, a columnist for Mobile’s Lagniappe Weekly, and host of Mobile’s “The Jeff Poor Show” from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. on FM Talk 106.5.