County roads deserve attention

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 10, 2004

A hearing this morning in Montgomery during the state legislative session could place Shelby County’s long-neglected roads higher on the Department of Transportation’s list of priorities.

Rep. Cam Ward has introduced legislation that would revamp how the DOT prioritizes road construction projects.

In the expanding sea of bureaucracy, the DOT stands out as a prime example of poor management. Thanks to Ward’s proposal, legislators can reorganize this poorly managed agency and make road construction more just.

Shelby County deserves attention from the DOT. Each year, the county pumps more and more money into the behemoth DOT in Montgomery. In 2002, Shelby County sent almost $13 million to the state DOT.

Unfortunately, DOT projects in the county totaled only about $4 million for the same year.

Despite the high level of education and incomes in the county, Shelby County cannot, and should not, finance DOT projects statewide. Shelby County dollars sent to the state DOT must return to the county in the form of road construction.

Ward’s proposal would create a Transportation Commission to eliminate some of the political motivations that often hinder equitable road construction in the state. It’s refreshing to see a local lawmaker carry such an idea with him to Montgomery. The state should get behind this bill in order to smooth-out the Heart of Dixie’s bumpy DOT