Transportation of all sorts on center stage

Transportation of all types was up for debate last and this week in the Alabama State Legislature.

The House Government Appropriations Committee took up the $1 billion for roads bill last week. Much of the initial debate about the bill focused on action alerts sent by members of Conservation Alabama to request that the bill place a priority on fixing ailing roads first, and also include funding for mass transit.

However, the opposition to the bill as drafted was characterized as “anti-road environmentalists who are worried about a snail darter or something” and the bill received a favorable report from the committee.

While roads and bridges were on the minds of the House recently, walking, biking, and canoeing trails got a thumbs up from the Senate. The legislation, sponsored by Rep. Cam Ward, R-Alabaster, would establish the Alabama Trails Commission to promote the development, interconnection, and use of trails across the state. The commission would be housed within the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs.

If signed by the Governor, the commission would include trail users, transportation officials, planners, economic development officials, and tourism representatives. Such a commission could be a real shot in the arm for the burgeoning paved, unpaved, and waterways trails around the state.

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