There is currently a proposal in the Alabama Legislature that includes reforms to the way we spend money on transportation infrastructure and adds much needed investment for Alabama's roads and bridges (A fact sheet is included that explains this important legislation: Click Here). Our crumbling infrastructure is an issue that affects all 67 counties and every single city in the state. According to the American Society of Civil Engineers' 2015 Report Card for Alabama's Infrastructure, our
roads received a grade of D+, and our bridges received a grade of C-. These grades illustrate the fact that our state's infrastructure - the roads and bridges on which our family, friends and loved ones rely - is failing.
- We depend on roads and bridges when our children leave the house every morning on the school bus,
- We depend on efficient infrastructure because it creates jobs, promotes commerce and helps us export goods effectively; and
- We depend on these investments to create jobs and to protect our families.
Not one single state legislator has denied the fact that Alabama's infrastructure is important for all of these reasons or that additional investments are needed. Yet, there are still some who will oppose the current proposal, which is a very reasonable piece of legislation designed for those who use our infrastructure. In addition, this legislation includes many, many compromises reached with numerous stakeholders, legislators and the administration.
Some legislators will oppose this plan despite the fact that it will provide a much needed economic boost to the very communities they represent.
Each and every day, all of us are faced with yes-or-no scenarios.
It is simply fifty-fifty.
For many saying NO is safe. NO goals, NO direction, NO ambition, NO vision, and NO plan. As a rule NO's don't move us forward.
Instead, they could say YES! YES, I have decided to show courage. YES, I have goals and a plan. Here is where it gets tricky...It is not always easy to say YES. YES means taking chances, being courageous, putting oneself out there, and embracing the future. When we open ourselves to YES, amazing opportunities and exciting possibilities will come true for those we represent.
So, if transportation infrastructure is important to your chamber or members of your chamber, we ask you to educate lawmakers on the importance of infrastructure to your community. For lawmakers who may say "NO" to this plan, they must have a plan of their own to fix our state's infrastructure. Otherwise, they are not doing the job they were sent to Montgomery to do...to solve problems to fix our roads to create a better future for Alabama. Simply stated, it is their responsibility to do nothing less!
Please join in our efforts to educate all our lawmakers on why fixing Alabama's infrastructure is critically important now. As you have these discussions, please let us know what feedback you get. Thank you for the leadership you provide for Alabama's business community.
Jeremy Arthur, President & CEO William Canary, President & CEO
Chamber of Commerce Business Council of Alabama
Association of Alabama