Speaker names Ward to infrastructure commission

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 24, 2006

State Rep. Cam Ward (R- Alabaster) and Steve French (R-Birmingham) have been appointed by House Speaker Seth Hammett to a state Commission on Infrastructure.

The commission announced by Hammett on Monday will be a broad coalition of business and government interests.

French and Ward are part of the Shelby County Legislative Delegation.

Ward said the Commission on Infrastructure would address roads specifically in areas such as Shelby County.

He said the commission would look at things like traffic problems, road widening, extensions of runways at airports and the state dock capacity.

&8220;I think it&8217;s very timely I was appointed to it (the infrastructure commission) since I&8217;ve been working on the Transportation Commission bill and in light of the problems in regard to roads and infrastructure (in Shelby County,&8221; he said.

&8220;I think the (infrastructure) commission can produce longterm results to alleviate some of the problems facing Shelby County because of the cooperation between the public and private sector on this issue.&8221;

Ward said the Transportation Commission Bill he has been working on recently passed in the House 77-14 and is now headed to the senate.

He said it is &8220;based on need without politics.&8221;

Hammett said the purpose of the Infrastructure Commission is to identify and address challenges facing the state&8217;s highways and bridges, the state dock in Mobile, inland waterways, and rail and airfreight shipments among other issues.

&8220;One need not spend a great deal of time on Alabama highways to know that we have problems that have to be addressed,&8221; Hammett said.

&8220;It is my hope that this commission will be instrumental in improving this vital component of economic development.&8221;

Hammett and Manufacture Alabama, the state&8217;s manufacturing trade association, jointly announced formation of the new commission last November.

The commission will hold its first meeting on Feb. 13 at 1 p.m. in the seventh floor auditorium of the Alabama Center for Commerce at 401 Adams Avenue in Montgomery.

Tommy Johnson, president of Frontier Yarns, will serve as chairman.

Other members beside Ward and French include: Larry Armistead, senior manager, Hyundai Motor Corporation; John Baker, Norfolk-Southern Railway; Greg Barker, economic development project manager, Alabama Power Company; Thomas Bates, vice-president/site manager, Degussa Corporation; Kay Batey, acting division administrator, Federal Highway Administration; John Bradley, senior vice president of economic development, Tennessee Valley Authority; Ron Davis, plant manger, ZF Lemforder Corporation; John

Eagerton, chief, bureau of aeronautics, Alabama Department of Transportation; Dallas Fanning, director of planning and urban development, city of Huntsville; Ronnie Flippo, former U.S. representative and others