By Jeff Helms
MAPLESVILLE, Ala., Feb. 27 — Alabama Farmers Federation President Jimmy Parnell was among government and community leaders who stood with Gov. Kay Ivey today as she announced the Rebuild Alabama Infrastructure Plan.
The plan calls for a 10-cent-per-gallon fuel tax over three years to fund improvements to the state’s crumbling roads and bridges, as well as the Port of Mobile. Ivey’s proposal also calls for future indexing of the fuel tax based on road construction costs.
“We commend Gov. Ivey for her courage and foresight to tackle some of Alabama’s biggest challenges,” Parnell said. “The Federation supports increased and equitable funding for farm-to-market roads, and the governor’s plan addresses this need. Our members rely on roads and bridges to receive supplies; get their crops, livestock and poultry to market; and travel for work and school. Poor and inadequate infrastructure is one of the greatest barriers to rural Alabama enjoying the same economic growth as larger cities. We appreciate the governor putting forth a plan that is reasonable, accountable and benefits all Alabama residents.”
Parnell said the Federation will closely monitor the plan as it moves through the Alabama Legislature. The Federation is focused on ensuring new funds go to materials rather than overhead costs and county roads get a fair share of new revenues. Parnell said planned improvements to the shipping channel at the Alabama State Docks also are good news for Alabama farmers.
“Agricultural and forestry exports already are an important part of the farm economy in Alabama,” he said. “Making Mobile a deep-water port would greatly enhance markets for Alabama-grown products like poultry and timber.”
Parnell said he expects current provisions for off-road diesel fuel to be retained and new fees included to ensure electric vehicles share in the cost of maintaining roads.
Agriculture and forestry have an annual economic impact of $70 billion and account for more than 580,000 jobs in Alabama.