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Ivey: Four years of Rebuilding Alabama

March 12 marked the fourth anniversary of Rebuild Alabama, possibly the most monumental legislation ever passed in Alabama’s history. Since its enactment, Rebuild Alabama has accounted for record investment across our state. Those investments are represented by 234 projects in all 67 counties, 400 miles of resurfaced roadways, and more than $170 million in state transportation funding awarded to cities and counties. That is what I call real, tangible results.

Four years after Rebuild Alabama’s enactment, we have only just begun. More projects are underway and under development, and more transformative announcements will be made in the coming months and years.

Our world-class surface transportation system will include four-lane interstate connectors in every county. Highway 411 in Cherokee County, Highway 52 in Geneva County and Highways 43 and 129 in Fayette and Marion counties are great examples.

Traffic congestion is being addressed to improve working Alabamians’ daily commutes. From Interstate system improvements on I-10 in Mobile County, I-59 in Jefferson County, the Eastern Connector in Etowah County and I-565 in Limestone and Madison counties to urban corridors like McFarland Boulevard in Tuscaloosa, traffic capacity is being increased everywhere we drive.

As promised, projects of local interest are being prioritized by those who know their county and municipality the best. Local officials are checking off needed projects that simply would not be possible without revenues provided by Rebuild Alabama. That means their citizens will have safer, more efficient routes to school and to work; drives to the grocery store or to visit family are quicker and smoother; and critical healthcare is more accessible.

Four years after its enactment, it is clear that Rebuild Alabama’s overall impact extends far beyond just roads and bridges. Driver safety, commercial efficiency and economic productivity are all aspects of the enhanced quality of life being delivered by Rebuild Alabama. It also tells the world, “Alabama is open for business!”

Just as Alabama is making record investments in infrastructure, businesses are making record investments in Alabama. More than $42 billion in new investments and more than 78,000 new jobs have come to our state since I became governor. A robust surface transportation system is critical to support this growth. Many of these companies also rely on the Port of Mobile, one of nation’s top ten seaports.

Rebuild Alabama’s investment in the Port has positively impacted all corners of our state’s economy, and it will continue to do so for years to come. The Port, in many respects, is Alabama’s gateway to the global economy, and I predict that many more Alabama communities will realize its effect. For example, the West Alabama Corridor will provide direct Port access to a portion of our state that is primed for industrial development.

As I look in the rearview mirror and reflect on the four-year anniversary of Rebuild Alabama, it is remarkable to think how we addressed an Alabama problem with an Alabama solution. Yes, the progress we have made is commendable. It is certainly worth celebrating. But the road ahead is long, and much work remains undone. Now is not the time to tap the brakes or to take a middle-of-the-road approach. Alabama has a roadmap to prosperity and the means to get us there, so let’s ride in fast lane, accelerate toward progress, and continue to Rebuild Alabama.

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