Tuberville on new Mobile Bay Bridge dilemma: ‘It’s all bureaucratic stuff — People are tired of it’
The issue of tolling for the new Mobile Bay Bridge continues to be a dominant political topic in the state of Alabama, and it is not going unnoticed in this early going of Alabama’s 2020 U.S. Senate contest.
Even though the decision-making is up to state officials, U.S. Senate candidates are sounding off on the bridge, especially as local officials are hoping that more federal dollars will be available for the project.
During an interview with Huntsville radio’s WVNN on Thursday, former Auburn head football coach Tommy Tuberville, a 2020 candidate for U.S. Senate, lamented the lack of progress on the new thoroughfare, deeming it the product of “typical career politicians.”
“It’s like a swarm of bees down here,” Tuberville said on “The Jeff Poor Show.” “It’s nothing but a tax, as you well know — $2.1 billion and basically what they’re doing is they’re getting private investors. It’s another toll bridge owned by private investors. And of course, they never pull the tolls off once they get going. They say they’re going to pay for it and not do it. But, yeah there’s not many people for it down there.”
“But they need a bridge,” he continued. “This place is growing just like it is in Huntsville. They got a lot of things going. They just got problems with, you know, the bridge coming over the bay, and they’ve kicked the can down the road, typical career politicians. Now they’ve got to do it. They just don’t have enough money. Now they’re going to have to borrow it and put a toll on it. So, we’ll see what happens.”
Tuberville expressed his concern about the federal mandate requiring the existing Bayway portion of I-10 to be raised at an exorbitant cost.
“They want to knock down the bridge that they have already got there that they say it’s not up to code to hook into a bridge,” Tuberville said. “That’s like $600 or $700 million to tear something that’s perfectly good down. And just because it doesn’t fit the code of going into a new bridge – it’s all bureaucratic stuff. People are tired of it. You don’t tear something down that’s perfectly good just because it says it’s not up to code. So, I’m sure they’re going to have a round-and-round with this thing down here. Again, it’s mostly state-funded. There’s some federal money coming in, but at the end of the day, it’s going to be private money coming in to build this thing, and they’ll be making a lot of money off of it for a long time.”