MOBILE, Ala (WKRG) — President Biden’s proposed $2 trillion infrastructure bill could save the Mobile River Bridge and Bayway expansion project. U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo tells WKRG News 5 that congestion on Interstate 10, in and around Mobile, is the exact type of problem the administration hopes to address.
“Funding is going to be made available for exactly the kinds of projects you’re talking about,” Raimondo said, “which is to say, heavily used roads that have fallen into disrepair because there hasn’t been the money to maintain, rebuild or widen.”
After decades of planning, studies and prep-work, the nearly $2 billion Bayway plan fell apart in 2019 when anticipated federal funding disappeared and locals balked at paying a $6 toll that was proposed by Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey and ALDOT. Recently, Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson and others proposed building a truck-only toll bridge at a far reduced price.
The current I-10 Bayway is one of the major choke points on Interstate 10, which runs from Jacksonville, Fla., to Los Angeles. Crowded during normal times, traffic on the bridge and George Wallace Tunnel can come to a standstill during rush hour and heavy summer beach periods, or when there is an accident.
The president’s infrastructure plan calls for 20,000 miles of new roads in America. Raimondo says it’s still being determined how projects will be selected and funded. She says it is likely that states will be required to match some percentage of federal funding.
The plan still needs to be approved in Congress. Many Republicans are balking at a proposed rollback of some Trump-era corporate tax cuts to pay for the infrastructure bill.