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Mobile, Eastern Shore MPOs roll out I-10 ‘truck-only’ $10-15 toll bridge proposal

It has been nearly two years since Gov. Kay Ivey declared the last incarnation of the Interstate 10 Mobile River Bridge and Bayway project “dead.” However, a new proposal sprung to life on Monday after the Eastern Shore and Mobile Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPO) offered a new $725 million plan.

The plan would include a “truck-only” bridge plan that would require a toll between $10-$15 on commercial trucks 46 feet or longer.

One of the plan’s stated goals is to use a $125 million federal grant before it expires.

“Protecting this $125 million federal grant is critically important,” Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson said in a statement. “We must demonstrate to the federal government that there is local support for moving forward. Failure to do so would cause the federal government to possibly redirect these funds.”

U.S. Rep. Jerry Carl (R-Mobile), who was also in attendance at the formal unveiling at the 5 Rivers Delta Resource Center near Spanish Fort, touted the effort.

“I am proud to be part of the locally led effort to alleviate traffic congestion on the I-10 Mobile River Bridge without tolling existing routes,” Carl said. “As south Alabama continues to grow, it is vital we improve I-10 in order for our region to maintain its economic edge for years to come. It’s more important now than ever for local, state, and federal leaders to continue working together to make this effort a reality.”

Fairhope City Council president Jack Burrell endorsed the plan, which he argued would alleviate existing congestion.

“You may or may not know this, but this corridor has been recognized as one of the most congested corridors in the entire nation,” he said. “Under this plan, traffic will flow more smoothly with fewer delays. People and goods will be able to move more quickly, efficiently and predictably through our area.”

In a statement, the Alabama Trucking Association was non-committal on the merits of the proposal. The organization’s president and CEO Mark Colson said the concept would be reviewed.

“Throughout the I-10 bridge debate, the Alabama trucking community has been ready and willing to consider proposals that are fair and equitable,” he said in a statement. “We will carefully review this new concept being presented. At first glance, it certainly raises some important questions. As this process unfolds, it is our hope that all interested parties are willing to come to the table to offer reasonable solutions bearing in mind that throughout the pandemic, truckers have been working tirelessly to keep America moving. The sacrifices made by truckers kept the American economy rolling, and we are still working every day to drive the recovery.”

@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.

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