U.S. Senator Richard Shelby, the longest serving senator for the state of Alabama, was in Dothan Monday morning at Wiregrass Rehab Center addressing the public’s questions and providing a legislative update at the Dothan area Chamber of Commerce membership breakfast.
Shelby has represented Alabama in the senate for 32 years, is fourth in seniority and currently serving his sixth term. He said one of his top priorites for the state is to widen the Mobile port, which would be a half-billion-dollar investment.
“I’ve been working on for the last 8 years now, on deepening and widening the Mobile port, which would move it probably from the 11th busiest port in the U.S. to the 5th or 6th,” said Shelby. “It’s a gamechanger for the state. It’s a very expensive deal. It would be 3/4 federal money and 1/4 state money, but it would create thousands of jobs over time and would make Mobile one of the most important ports in the nation.”
Another prime concern at the top of Shelby’s agenda is improving the nation’s infrastructure and continuing to support Fort Rucker, which has a billion-dollar economic impact on the wiregrass.
“We desparately need a federal infrstructure package,” Shelby remarked. “A lot of our bridges and roads built during the boom time of the interstate, are crumbling and so forth, and it’s going to take money to do that and of course we know that’s going to come from our pocket books, but if there’s going to be an infrastructure bill, I want to make sure Alabama is represented there at the table and I’m going to try to fight that battle and see where we go.”
“Rucker’s doing well,” he continued. “I wish we could consolidate the basic helicopter training, but that would have to come out of a base closing decision. We could never get it through congress, but that would save a lot of money and bolster the role of Fort Rucker.”