MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — Just yesterday, Mobile’s Legislative Delegation sent a letter to Governor Kay Ivey voicing their concerns about tolls proposed to pay for the Mobile River Bridge and Bayway Project. The proposed $3 to $6 tolls each way have been a bone of contention to many who travel to and from Mobile and Baldwin County each day.
The Delegation joins Rep. Bradley Byrne, the mayors of the Eastern Shore cities, and some 25 thousand people on State Auditor Jim Zeigler’s ‘Block the Mobile Bayway Toll‘ Facebook page.
Now, add State Senator Chris Elliott to the list as well.
“It is clear that this project and the funding mechanism that is being proposed right now is simply unacceptable for coastal Alabama,” said Elliott.
Elliott has been a vocal proponent of the need for the project and remains so. But he now says he’s against the idea of using high tolls to pay for it.
“Imagine if we were to move forward for this with a 50-year commitment and a toll for 50 years and President Trump and Congress passes a major federal infrastructure plan that could have paid for this two years down the road. That would be a horrible idea,” said Elliott.
Elliott says he will urge the Governor to wait until that happens or doesn’t. The Governor sits at the top of the ‘Toll Road Bridge and Tunnel Authority,’ a body that has the power over the project. Of the nine members, only two have any connection to the Gulf Coast.
Last week, News 5 tried to get more information from the man in charge, ALDOT Director John Cooper, when he met with Baldwin County’s Legislative Delegation, but he had little to say.
“We’ve discussed some concepts with them that might be ready for public dissemination in the near future,” said Cooper.
Cooper is expected to hold a news conference Wednesday at ALDOT’S field office in Mobile. Whether or not that update will include lower or no tolls for local, frequent users of the new bridge and Bayway, remains to be seen