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Hartselle Enquirer

Byrne pledges more tax dollars for North Alabama road projects

Gubernatorial candidate Bradley Byrne said returning more road dollars back to North Alabama will be his “number one transportation priority,” if he’s elected.

Byrne stopped by Hartselle Thursday afternoon, picking up the endorsements of Sen. Arthur Orr, R-Decatur, and former State Senators Tommy Ed Roberts and Bob Harris. Byrne faces Dr. Robert Bentley in the July 13 GOP runoff with the winner meeting Democratic nominee Ron Sparks in November.

Byrne said North Alabama has long paid more to Montgomery than it’s received back in the form of transportation dollars.

“I plan to change that if I’m elected. I’ve told everyone in Mobile, Montgomery, Dothan, everywhere I go, that North Alabama’s transportation projects are my number one priority,” he said.
And how did that go over with those in south Alabama?

“Surprisingly well,” he said. “Once they understand what’s been going on here, they understand that we have to make it right.”

What’s been going on is a massive inequity in what the northern region of the state sends to Montgomery in the form of tax dollars and what it receives back for road and bridge projects.

Byrne and Bentley have both signed pledges – dealing specifically with Madison County, but Byrne said he applied it to all of North Alabama – pledging to return a greater portion of tax dollars to the area.

The Madison resolution calls for at least 80 percent of the fuel tax revenue collected in that county and sent to the state will be spent in the county itself, as opposed to other projects.

The resolutions are designed to eliminate the long-standing problem of tax dollars not being returned to the county in equal measure. From 1990-2005, the ratio of expenditures by the Alabama Department of Transportation for roads in the North Alabama vs. the estimated revenues paid through the fuel tax was 53 cents on the dollar, meaning the area receives a little more than half for every dollar it puts in the state coffers. Similar fast-growing areas receive as much as $4.38 in road expenditures for every dollar sent to Montgomery.

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