Elected officials rightly devote significant attention to Alabama’s economy, which Alabama voters depend on to provide for the basic needs of their families and communities.
Just as the heart and circulatory system form the network that transports blood through the body, a state’s transportation system is critical to the health of its economy. And as a blocked artery causes a heart attack, a poor transportation system restricts the economy by limiting the ability of businesses to move goods and services in and out of the region.
This Guide will examine our state’s infrastructure spending and attempt to determine whether the State of Alabama sufficiently funds its transportation system.
—The effectiveness of the gas tax has waned in recent years as vehicles have become more fuel-efficient.
—Statewide, Alabama’s infrastructure spending is in line with similarly situated states, but differences in rural and urban area population growth deserve a closer look.
—Onerous federal and state regulations can cause costly projects to become unreasonably expensive with little or no improvement in public health or safety.
—The gas tax should only be increased if another state tax is decreased or eliminated to make the policy revenue neutral.
—Among other innovative solutions, policy makers should consider registration or tag fees for fuel-efficient vehicles to make the current user fee model more equitable.
—Cities know their needs best. Municipalities should have more say in how transportation funds are spent.