Wiregrass legislator on committee that will decide how I-10 bridge will be funded

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(WDHN) — The I-10 “Bay-way” bridge in Mobile has caused quite a firestorm in that region of the state as there are talks to replace the structure to help with traffic issues.

The problem for people in southwest Alabama is that on top of new fuel taxes. A toll on the billion-dollar bridge would also add to their expenses.

A Wiregrass legislator is on the committee that will decide how that bridge will be funded.

Representative Steve Clouse is part of the nine-member toll bridge authority that decides whether tolls for roads or bridges can be enacted around the state for different locations.

With a lot of controversy surrounding it, the toll bridge authority is the group looking into the toll for the I-10 bridge.

The project came in around #2.1 billion. A lot more then what people originally thought.

“Obviously important for the coastal area there,” said Rep. Steve Clouse of the 93rd District. “It’s also important for us in this area, we have a lot of businesses who deliver their goods on I-10 to Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, and beyond.”

Clouse said the bridge will help with traffic going through the county.

“It’s become an issue with them that their trucks are getting bottle-necked there on the bay bridge, and the tunnel there that goes underneath part of the city of mobile streets there,” Clouse said. “So, it’s a big concern for everybody.”

The proposal for the toll cost from the Department of Transportation is $6, which has caused a lot of complaints in the Mobile and Baldwin County area.

“The governor’s called a meeting to have a listening session from people to give suggestions about how the cost could possibly be brought down,” Clouse said.

As for cost being moved from businesses to consumers paying the toll, Clouse said that there’s definitely a concern, but the other side of the coin is if traffic’s being slowed down, that’s also a cost to consumers because of the delay of products getting to market.

Clouse also said they are trying to get the project to as low a cost as possible, and they’ll be addressing and looking at several issues and questions during the Oct. 7 meeting.

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