MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) – Communities throughout south Alabama could begin major improvement projects soon with federal money.
$312.3 million is coming to Mobile, Baldwin, Escambia, Washington and Clarke counties from earmarks made in the federal spending bill passed by Congress and signed by President Joe Biden on Dec. 23.
The 4,000-page bill totaled $1.7 trillion and will keep the federal government operating through Sept. 30, 2023.
$15.3 billion in earmarks were allocated to 7,200 projects proposed by members of Congress for their home states. The wording for these expenses were all included in attachments that made up an additional 2,000 pages of text.
Three projects in Mobile are among the top 50 largest in the country for the amount of funding allocated.
Data from Bloomberg Government shows retiring Sen. Richard Shelby had the largest share of earmarks by any lawmaker, netting $666.4 million for Alabama. He serves as the vice chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee.
“Throughout my career, I have done everything in my power to bring success to my home state. The funding for Alabama in this package is significant in terms of the impact it will have on communities and the overall state-wide economy for generations to come,” Shelby said.
Rep. Jerry Carl netted an additional $16.7 million for the six counties in his Congressional district.
The Port of Mobile will receive $200 million, the largest earmark in the entire bill. Alabama’s total share, $777.9 million, was the third-highest allocation to any U.S. state and territory behind California ($1.3BN) and Texas ($794.5M).
The largest shares coming to south Alabama are:
- $200 million to Alabama State Port Authority for the construction of an inland container intermodal transfer facility and expansion of the Port of Mobile container terminal
- $50 million to the City of Mobile for commercial development and redevelopment of the downtown area.
- $35 million to Spring Hill College to construct a new Nursing and Health Sciences building.
A full break-down of earmarked projects in south Alabama included in the bill:
Six of the seven members of Alabama’s delegation to the House of Representatives voted against the bill in what was a mostly party-line vote. Rep. Terri Sewell (D-Birmingham), the state’s only Democrat in the House voted in favor.
Sen. Shelby voted in favor of the bill in the Senate, which passed 68-29. Sen. Tommy Tuberville cast a vote in opposition.
“Americans have to live within their means while Congress burns money we don’t have. I opposed the omnibus because Congress should be responsible enough to spend no more than we can afford, just as Americans do every day,” Tuberville said.
Tuberville did not make any earmark requests in the bill. 45 out of the 100 senators did not submit requests.
Not all of the requests from south Alabama made it in the final bill. Community project funding proposals submitted by Carl that weren’t included in the bill include:
|City of Saraland||$2.5 million to construct new walking and bike trails as part of a larger sports complex project in Saraland|
|City of Daphne||$1.3 million to renovate a youth center in a low-income area to create spaces for a tech lab/classroom, update the bathrooms to be ADA accessible, and construct a new basketball court and shade pavilion|
|Mobile Area Chamber Foundation||$700,000 to deliver programs and trainings to local business owners and entrepreneurs, provide two Business Development Navigators to connect businesses with the resources available to them, and host the Gulf Coast BizCon|