Mobile, Alabama (WKRG) – There’s a lot happening in Washington that affects the Gulf Coast. One of the things that we have been covering extensively, of course, is this new Mobile River Bridge. And whether there is funding for what it’s going to cost. We find out what’s happening on the federal level with that funding.

Read the full interview below or watch it in the video above.

Bill: For the first time. We’re welcoming Congressman Jerry Carl here to the Red Couch. Welcome to the Red Couch, Congressman.

Congressman Jerry Carl (R-AL) :Good morning. It’s wonderful to be here. You folks get up a little early.

Jessica: Pretty Early. Look, there’s a lot happening in Washington that affects the Gulf Coast. A lot of things that you’re working on. One of the things that we have been covering extensively, of course, is this new Mobile River Bridge. Right. And whether there is funding for what it’s going to cost. Tell us what’s happening on the federal level with that funding.

Congressman Carl: Well, on the federal level, we’re still looking for money. Obviously, we early on got 125 million that’s been used to get it kicked off. The two counties in the state that got it worked out. So we have some access for locals to actually be able to use it for free, which is great. I mean, that was the big push back from all of us. We were worried about that. But we’re still looking for federal funding. We’re doing the best we can do to to see what’s out there. I don’t want to give anyone a false illusion that we’ve got this this a lot this pot of money that we can go dip and out of. It does not work that way in Washington. But we’ll see. We’ll say we’re working on it.

Bill: We have to compete against projects all across the country. I guess.

Congressman Carl; Right. And this this administration, you know, not to get political, but they’re going to pour money more into the Democrat districts. And this is obviously not a very strong Democrat district. So we’re having to compete for it and make our arguments, and we’ll do that.

Jessica: So in terms of when we could see a bridge being built, the funding still isn’t there for it. Is that what I’m understanding?

Congressman Carl: Is not there. But I think, again, through the state and cities and the counties on both sides of the bay, I think they’ve got a plan put together and we’ll see something get started in the very near future. I mean, what we’ve been 20 plus years talking about this. I think it’s time we get started.

Jessica; it’s been a long conversation, that’s for sure. Another thing that we’re talking about tankers and we’ve been talking about that for quite a long time. I think there is there are new developments on that where you’re wanting to see another tanker competition that could include Mobil.

Congressman Carl: Right. So, so the tanker contract that was issued to Boeing back ten years ago, 12 years ago, that was for 165 aircraft they have delivered a portion of that. None of them work 100%. So we’re, we’re frustrated. We’re trying to get the Air Force to rebid out the second half of that contract, which is supposed to be this way.  It’s actually designed so it will be another 165 tankers that would be bid out. The problem is the Secretary of the Air Force has made his mind up. It’s not going to be bid out. So it’s going to be a no bid award to Boeing. So Boeing can make the other 165. But we’re arguing that on the floor we’re working behind behind the scenes. We’re just keeping our fingers crossed until the Republicans take control that we can we can kind of hold him at bay. But he’s basically told us it’s his call and he’s going to do it his way. And I don’t view it that way. Congress holds a checkbook, so we’re going to hold that checkbook as tight as we can and hopefully we can build that tanker right here in Mobile.

Bill: And we are set up to do it.

Congressman Carl: We’ll build a three-30 line which will mean we will build every aircraft that Airbus builds except for the three-50, which is made in Toulouse. And I might be wrong about that, but I’m pretty sure. So you’ll see you’ll see the aeronautical hub actually focus and become Mobile.

Jessica: Two big issues there. The bridge and the tanker that big deal to the Gulf Coast.

Congressman Carl: Well, that bridge is a big deal to the tanker and that big bridge is a big deal to the term container success and widening it deep in the harbor. It’s all plays together. It’s all, all works together.

Bill:  Our guest, Congressman Jerry Carl, thanks for being with us. We appreciate you showing up early.

Congressman Carl: This my pleasure. I was in the parking lot real early.

Jessica: Ready to go.