Needed funds appear to be on the way to assist our local communities with road and bridge infrastructure. According to this article from the Opelika-Auburn News, a House committee yesterday approved “an ambitious plan to pump $1 billion over the next 10 years into Alabama’s roads and bridges.” Having passed in the Senate, the bill awaits a vote before the full House and then onto the ballot for the voters to consider.
Having been legal counsel for the Clay County Commission for many years, I am particularly keen to the struggles our local governments have endured concerning the roadways in their counties. These struggles seem to have tripled this past winter. As reported in the Clay Times-Journal, over twenty roads in Clay County alone were closed earlier this spring where paved roads were beginning to break off in places where the water settled in the cracks and froze. It was further reported that “some citizens who live on closed roads were completely trapped, with no way to get in or out unless they had an ATV.”
Other counties throughout District 13 were especially hard hit this winter and early spring. Cleburne County alone suffered $1,200,000 in damage to Cleburne County roads, according to reports. The Randolph Leader advised that a church in Newell actually shut down services for over a month because of the conditions of the damaged roads.
A basic principle I learned from scouting is leave everything just as you found it: leave no trace. This is a basic principle of stewardship. Accordingly, we must leave our roadways and bridges in a better condition than we found them. The concept of stewardship must be infused back into our politics. Maintaining the current stock of roads and bridges must be a priority. We can no longer kick this issue down the road to our children.
UPDATE: The Alabama Legislature has given the go-ahead to put before voters a question about spending $1 billion on road and bridge projects throughout the state.