SHELBY COUNTY, Ala. (WIAT) — The Shelby County Commission meeting was once again filled with residents against a proposed toll bridge.
The Coosa River Express was not on the agenda, but that hasn’t stopped concerned residents from taking over commission meetings.
Commissioners say it could be another month before the bridge comes to a vote. They say this is because they are still awaiting project impact plans from Tim James Inc. and have more than 1,700 online responses from public input to sift through.
They say the little amount of information they’ve received on the Coosa River Express makes it impossible to make an informed vote.
Commissioner Kevin Morris represents District 1, where the proposed bridge would be built. He said the Coosa River Express has become the most difficult subject of his short political career.
“When originally asked last year, before I ever saw a plan, I said I didn’t think it was a very good idea,” Morris said. “But I stated then and I’ll say again now, I’m one voice in a district. Although I represent the district, I will have to be the voice of the district.”
Once the public comment section of the meeting began, resident after resident came to the podium to tell commissioners why the bridge was a bad idea for Shelby County.
“The toll itself would not be only the cost to use the bridges,” resident Marilyn Hartz said. “They’ll be hidden fees included in this toll to pay for maintenance of the bridge, construction of the bridge, rehab of the bridge, operations of the bridge, interest on borrowing his money, and inflation.”
“Shelby County does not have the infrastructure or resources to support this project,” Kingdom Volunteer Fire Chief Tony Miller said. “It would be a drain on all the volunteer fire departments and ems departments that would be considered in this travel. That includes Talladega County as well as Shelby County.”
Last week, Tim James appeared on CBS 42 Morning News with Art Franklin and said south Shelby County really needs a shot in the arm when it comes to economic development. Resident here tonight say those statements were unfounded.
“Shelby County is the fastest growing and wealthiest county in the state,” resident Jenny Davis said. “Shelby County’s population grew by more than 6.9%, more than four times the rate of Alabama’s population growth as a whole.”
Once the Shelby County Commission receives more information, they will put it to a vote.
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