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ALDOT, Eastern Shore and Mobile MPOs report status of Mobile River Bridge and Bayway project

Jun 10

The Alabama Department of Transportation, along with the chairmen of the Eastern Shore Metropolitan Planning Organization and the Mobile Metropolitan Planning Organization, today issued the following statement about the Mobile River Bridge and Bayway project following a 60-day review period:

“Over the past two-plus months, ALDOT and the Eastern Shore and Mobile MPOs have made meaningful progress in advancing the Mobile River Bridge and Bayway Project.

“Since the 60-day review process began, state and local officials have worked diligently to advocate for additional federal support. ALDOT has met with the Federal Highway Administration administrator and the USDOT Build America Bureau executive director. Mobile MPO Chair Sandy Stimpson has met with senior federal transportation officials. Members of the Eastern Shore MPO traveled to Washington D.C. to meet with U.S. Representatives Jerry Carl and Barry Moore, Senators Katie Britt and Tommy Tuberville, and senior USDOT officials. These meetings are in addition to seeking cost-savings measures with ALDOT’s design-build teams.

“Those meetings and efforts have been fruitful. In a major milestone for the project, the USDOT, through its Build America Bureau, has requested that ALDOT begin the application process for a Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loan. USDOT requested this step and is accommodating ALDOT’s efforts to proceed in a timely manner. ALDOT will submit this application at the maximum amount allowed, which is 49 percent of the project cost. This low-interest federal loan, while not guaranteed, would mean that nearly half of the project would receive the best and most competitive financing available. ALDOT has also submitted applications to USDOT for federal discretionary grants under three separate programs for projects of this nature.

“We are committed to this project and will continue to do everything possible to ensure its success. Project costs, roughly $3 to $3.5 billion, are nearly double ALDOT’s annual budget, which is intended to construct and administer projects in every corner of the state. Interstate 10, the fourth-longest interstate in the country, spans 2,460 miles through eight states. Only 66 miles of this interstate are in Alabama, the least of any state along the I-10 corridor. “This project is essentially shovel-ready except for an inflation-driven gap in funding. At the end of the day, we need the federal government to continue working with us in recognizing the national importance of this project and join us in making it a reality. Based on our progress – with all right of way acquired, necessary federal approvals secured, and federal loan processes initiated – we believe that the Mobile River Bridge and Bayway project is the most advanced of any similar project in the country. ALDOT and the MPOs remain committed to this project, and we will continue to seek the additional federal funding we need to begin construction.”