DAPHNE, Ala. (WKRG) – In a Wednesday morning meeting members of the Eastern Shore Metropolitan Planning Organization gave the green light to move forward with plans for a truck-only toll bridge across the Mobile River.
“Without us doing that they could not continue to do studies, ALDOT could not continue to do studies, the federal government could not release the $125 million that’s dedicated to this,” said Eastern Shore MPO Chairman Jack Burrell.
On top of those funds $250 million from the state level are now secured for the project. The truck bridge is part of the initial plans, but details surrounding the project are still left undecided.
“It’s a concept that I’ve said will work, but I believe ALDOT has heard loud and clear that we would like to see all of this pursued at one time,” said Burrell, speaking on the several project phases.
Tolling truck drivers has been the big topic of conversation with the project, but not everyone’s happy with that idea including Mark Colson who’s the president and CEO of the Alabama Trucking Association.
“We’re only 10% of the traffic, but we’re being asked to pay 100% of the costs. No one that has heard that proposal thought it was fair,” Colson said.
Burrell says he’s looking to secure federal grant money or a low interest loan going forward. He’s looking forward to working with the Alabama Trucking Association to come up with ways to make the project work for everyone.
“It all goes back to funding. Let’s work on that. Let’s hammer those people in Washington. Let’s make a good case,” Burrell said.
The Eastern Shore MPO and Mobile MPO will meet again on July 27 at 2 p.m. to discuss further plans. The meeting will be held at the Five Rivers Delta Resource Center on the Causeway.