Majority of Toll Authority tied to Governor

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Authority meets in October, Gov. Ivey says toll will be necessary to fund bridge project

Those opposed to tolling the new I-10 Bridge and Bayway project are unlikely to find much relief with the Alabama Toll Road, Bridge, and Tunnel Authority scheduled to meet in October. Five of the nine spots on the Authority are controlled by Governor Kay Ivey who has made her position on the project clear.

“It would be wonderful if we didn’t have to have a toll period, but that’s not reality,” Ivey told News 5 last week.

Five of the nine people on the Authority are tied to the Governor. Ivey is on the board as well as her Chief of Staff, former Congressman Jo Bonner, and her Deputy Chief of Staff, Liz Filmore. In addition, two people whose jobs are appointed by the governor are on the Authority: State Finance Director Kelly Butler and ALDOT Director John Cooper.

The four other Authority members may be more likely to consider a reduced toll, or no toll. Lt. Governor Will Ainsworth came out this week against the toll. State Senator Greg Albritton lives in Conecuh County but represents a portion of northern Baldwin County. House Speaker Mac McCutcheon of Madison County is on the Authority, as is Ways & Means Committee Chairman Steve Clouse of Ozark

“It’s a big concern for everybody,” Clause said. “Obviously for the coastal area, but it’s important for us in (the Wiregrass) area. We have a lot of businesses who deliver their goods on I-10 to Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas and beyond. It’s become an issue with them. Their trucks are getting bottlenecked on the bay bridge there and the tunnel there.” 

A new poll released today shows almost four out of five people throughout the state of Alabama oppose the concept of tolling interstates. That poll was commissioned by Orange Beach businessman Dean Young.

Gov. Ivey has refused to move the Toll Road, Bridge, and Tunnel Authority meeting to the coast. It will take place in Montgomery on October 7.

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