Zeigler: ‘Maybe’ we should elect our transportation commission like Mississippi
Despite having been part of a successful effort to thwart the Alabama Department of Transportation’s proposal for a new tolled I-10 Mobile Bay Bridge, State Auditor Jim Zeigler says he is not done.
During an appearance on Huntsville radio’s WVNN, Zeigler suggested Alabama rethink the way it determines who heads ALDOT and suggested Alabama take a look at Mississippi’s model, which is the election of a three-member executive board, with each member representing a portion of the state.
“As far as a long-run project, I am now studying the Mississippi Transportation Commission, formerly called the Mississippi Highway Commission,” Zeigler said. “They elect their John Cooper. And maybe we need to go to something like that because everything else that has been tried has not worked. If the commissioners – sort of like the county commissioners used to be called the road commissioners, and that’s a lot of what they do. This is on the state level. Thank God for Mississippi – kind of ironic looking to Mississippi for maybe an alternative for what to do.”
“And maybe bringing this to the legislature at this time – I may have that ready to go by February – legislation for an elected highway commission and highway director,” he added.
Zeigler noted the difference in Mississippi and Alabama’s roads and pointed to how residents of South Alabama will go out of the way through Mississippi to make a trip to the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa quicker.
“Here’s an ironic thing: People who are going from Mobile and Mobile County to the University of Alabama football games – they go through Mississippi,” Zeigler explained. “They go a little bit too far west and get [U.S. Highway] 45 and go the vast majority on the trip on Mississippi roads rather than going on [U.S. Highway] 43 through Alabama.”
“It’s a shame to go to a University of Alabama football game, you’ve got to go west and go on Mississippi roads,” he