Candidates drop in on county Riley promises to improve roads

On the steps of Helena City Hall, Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Riley told about 100 local residents that he will treat all counties fairly, regardless of party affiliations, when disbursing funds for road improvements.

This is something he said has not been done in the past.

&uot;I’m a Republican but if I’ve got a county out there and it’s a Democratic county, I’m not going to cut their funding,&uot; he said accusing the current governor, Don Siegelman, of just that toward Shelby County.

Riley made his first official campaign stop to the county recently.

His pass through Shelby County included remarks on the steps of city hall in Helena as well as a breakfast among his supporters.

Those supporters included the mayors of Pelham, Helena, Calera and Alabaster and several county officials.

&uot;You need a return on your tax dollars,&uot; he said to a loud applause.

&uot;We have a system where the governor uses the (Alabama) Department of Transportation for political purposes,&uot; Riley said.

Riley campaign workers distributed a 102-page Bob Riley (for governor) book titled &uot;A Plan for Change.&uot;

Riley encouraged those in attendance to read the part of his book which discusses changing the state’s transportation system.

He said funding for roads and bridges should be based primarily on need.

&uot;If you base it on need, Shelby County is at the top of that list. If you don’t address that, you stymie growth.&uot;

On page 97 of his book, Riley called transportation planning in Alabama &uot;reactive rather than proactive.&uot;

The text reads: &uot;We plan for projects once there is a need, rather than forecasting the need and developing a plan that will prevent congestion.

&uot;Citizens have to wait for years until a road becomes congested before the state takes steps to correct the problem.

&uot;Even then, our taxpayers have to hope that their part of the state is in good political favor with the governor before they can expect roads to be built and/or repaired,&uot; Riley wrote