Transportation Bank proposal expands to include transit

The Alabama Transportation Infrastructure Bank proposal moves to the Alabama House with a change that could receive support from transit advocates.

Originally designed only to fund road and bridge projects, SB150 was amended by Sen. Rodger Smitherman, D-Birmingham to also include mass transit capital projects. The amended bill was approved by the full Senate last week and now goes to the House Ways and Means Education Committee. The Bank is anticipated to have $46 million a year from one cent of gasoline sales tax and a portion of truck and truck tractor licensing and registration fees. An expanded project list that Bank funds can be used for allows for more transportation economic development opportunities.

Additionally last week, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee passed a bill that would establish the Alabama Public Interest Energy and Fuel Research and Development Grants Program within the Department of Agriculture and Industries Center for Alternative Fuels. Sponsored by Sen. Cam Ward, R-Alabaster, the bill states: “It is in the best interest of the people of the state and the quality of life of its citizens will be improved by providing environmentally sound, safe, reliable, and affordable energy and alternative fuel services and products.” The full Senate could vote on the bill this week.

One other bill of note will be the subject of a committee public hearing this week. HB153 would provide up to $10,000 for the purchase and installation of irrigation systems, water wells, or reservoirs for agricultural purposes. The public hearing will be at 9 a.m. Wednesday in Room 617 of the Alabama Statehouse. SB328, the Senate companion bill, has already passed the full Senate and is awaiting action in the same committee. The Alabama Rivers Alliance put out a statement about this bill last week.

You can follow legislation related to the environment each week on Conservation Alabama’s Hot List at conservationalabama.org.

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