Mobile River Bridge and Bayway: Fairhope’s Mayor explains the toll’s impact

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FAIRHOPE, Ala. (WKRG) — No matter what side of the bay you may live on, there’s nothing sweet about this proposed toll.

It’s a controversial topic that may never see a common ground. No matter how many ways this proposal is pitched, it’s one, at least one local official fears.

“When I heard this, I said this obviously cannot happen. It will negatively impact so many citizens because of so many people commutes,” said Mayor Karin Wilson, the City of Fairhope.

A predicted terrible outcome that may soon become a reality as members of ALDOT work to move the project forward. Mayor Wilson says this is all a direct result of lack of planning and strategic budgeting.

“We’ve known about the need for a new bridge for over a decade and at that point, it needed to happen quickly. And today, we’re acting as if we just found out yesterday that we need one.”

Cities like Fairhope, generate a lot of revenue through tourism as travelers from out of state and locally commute to the beach and Pensacola. Wilson says if this proposed six-dollar toll passes, she sees this negatively impacting the entire state.

“People may think, well this is our problem, but it will impact the income for all states because we are an economic engine. We do make up a significant, I can’t think of the percentage now, but it’s a significant amount for the whole state,” said Wilson.

She says whatever the fee is, she’s 100 percent against a toll to build the bridge. And thinks it’s time for government officials to do their jobs and find a better solution.

“There’s just a lot of wasteful spending. I think the solution is hiring more business-minded people,” said Wilson.

News 5’s Amber Grigley did reach out to Mobile’s Mayor several times about this matter and have not heard back from his office. As for other city leaders, the city of Spanish Fort released a resolution calling on the Alabama Department of Transportation to find alternate funding for the proposed bridge project over Mobile Bay.

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