BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Where is the money best spent, on the West Alabama Corridor or on expanding Interstate 65?
That question is driving a debate that is pitting the two road construction projects against each other. Alabama State Senator Chris Elliott from Josephine in South Alabama believes it’s time to reconsider the West Alabama Corridor in favor of widening I-65.
”It’s crucial as the backbone of the entire state to prioritize that project and to certainly prioritize it over the West Alabama Corridor,” Elliott said.
Elliott joins Lieutenant Governor Will Ainsworth in favor of making I-65 a priority. Calling on Alabama Governor Kay Ivey to hit the brakes on the West Alabama Corridor in favor of the heavily traveled I-65.
”You have to look at where is the money best spent and where does it do the most for the most Alabamians,” Elliott said. “And the traffic counts just don’t support spending more than a billion dollars on a road through west Alabama.”
CBS 42 asked Ivey about the two projects and she says the West Alabama Corridor through Highway 43 is important.
”I’m proud to undertake Highway 43 expansion, the corridor over there, west Alabama, it will make a world of difference to our citizens and give them more opportunities. be on traction for businesses and industries to locate there. And so yes, we are going to deal with both I-65 and Highway 43,” Ivey said.
Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox finds the either-or scenario a short-sighted solution.
“I think that the push for the 65 expansion is a justifiable one, we’ve all been stuck on 65 south to Montgomery. But I don’t think we should make it an either-or case. Let’s find a way to do both. Let’s don’t pit one side of Alabama against the other,” Maddox said.
When the West Alabama Corridor was begun back in 2021, the project was projected to take five years to complete and come with a price tag of more than $800 million.