DOTHAN, Ala. (WDHN) — If you’ve lived in the Wiregrass area for a while, talks of an I-10 connector may be old news to you, but city officials shared their updated insights about the connector.
“For a long time to enhance economic development opportunities, there was an effort in Dothan and the region to get a limited-access highway into our market because we are one of the few, heck I think we are only one of two metro areas in the United States that does not have an interstate connector,” said Matt Parker, President Dothan Area Chamber of Commerce.
In 1998, this issue was federally recognized and funded. That’s when officials started evaluating the project.
According to Parker, about 10 years later, earmarking was eliminated, and during President Obama’s administration, if you didn’t have projects ready to be built, there was a federal recission on the money.
“We weren’t in a position obviously to build it, still needed, you know to study the whole thing and also get the Florida side going. And ultimately that money did get absorbed back into the state,” said Parker.
The funds were eventually reallocated into the Ross Clark Circle construction project. Mayor Saliba believes, having an I-10 connector could have led to more opportunities across town with Tier 1 and Tier 2 companies.
“Moving forward with the Alabama Department of Transportation is to come up with some improvements on the infrastructure that we have in place already,” Dothan Mayor Mark Saliba said. “It’s less money, both state and federal funding as well to take what infrastructure we have, the highways and the roads that we have, and just improve those.”
For now, the city is focused on improving the infrastructure of the existing roads, but talks of a connector are not off the table.