Gerald Allen appointed as chair of Joint Transportation Committee – Alabama in ‘great position to benefit’ from potential federal infrastructure package
MONTGOMERY — The members of the Joint Transportation Committee (JTC) of the Alabama legislature have unanimously chosen State Sen. Gerald Allen (R-Tuscaloosa) as chairman of its committee.
“I am honored to be chosen as chairman for this important committee — few things are as key to Alabama’s economic prosperity as a modern transportation network that features safe roads and bridges,” Allen said in a statement on Tuesday.
During the March special legislative session that saw the Rebuild Alabama infrastructure plan passed and signed into law, the JTC’s mission was broadened to ratchet up accountability for the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT).
The team of lawmakers now has increased oversight of ALDOT’s Statewide Transportation Improvement Program, which is the department’s long-range plan of road and bridge projects.
“Alabama has a long way to go, frankly — in 2015, the American Society of Civil Engineers gave Alabama’s roads a D+ grade. Part of that is because we have been under-funded compared to other southeastern states,” Allen advised.
“That’s why the passage in March of the Rebuild Alabama infrastructure plan was so important, and I promise you that the members of the Joint Transportation Committee will work very hard to ensure that every transportation dollar is spent wisely,” he continued.
The JTC is made up of 12 state representatives and twelve state senators, with a House and Senate member apiece for Alabama’s seven Congressional Districts and the five ALDOT regions.
The members are as follows:
State Sens. Chris Elliot, Donnie Chesteen, Tom Whatley, Clay Scofield, Arthur Orr, Cam Ward, Gerald Allen, Jabo Waggoner, Bobby Singleton, Clyde Chambliss, David Sessions and Tom Butler.
State Reps. Margie Wilcox, Dexter Grimsley, Ginny Shaver, Kerry Rich, Laura Hall, Corley Ellis, Artis McCampbell, K.L. Brown, Rich Wingo, Chris Sells, Alan Baker and Randall Shedd.
The new JTC chair also emphasized that the Yellowhammer State is in prime position to reap additional benefits from a federal infrastructure package that is reportedly being broadly discussed by the president and congressional leaders. Senator Richard Shelby’s (R-AL) role as the powerful chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriations will certainly benefit Alabama if a package does come to fruition.
Additionally, the Rebuild Alabama Act will put the state in a position to have necessary matching funds to draw down more federal dollars.
“From my on-going conversations with our congressional delegation in D.C., I understand that they and President Trump’s team are working on the general outlines of a federal infrastructure package, too,” Allen concluded. “A lot will depend on Speaker Pelosi and the Democrats, of course, but Alabama is in a great position to benefit should Congress approve a federal transportation package.”
Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn