Fix roads based on needs

A commission tasked with building roads and infrastructure based on needs not politics…

State Rep. Cam Ward (R-Alabaster) is once again pushing for passage of a bill which is desperately needed.

Ward&8217;s bill, passed by the House on April 24, would create a five-member commission appointed by the governor and composed of members who would serve six-year staggered terms. Three of the commissioners would come from geographical regions of the state, while two would be from the state at large, but not the same congressional district.

The commissioners would be part-time, could not hold another political office or be employed by the road building industry. They also cannot serve as a lobbyist or have a business relationship with the Department of Transportation (DOT).

The commissioners would establish a long-range plan for transportation facility construction, establish policies for aviation, railways and waterways and would hire and fire the director of DOT.

&8220;Turning the decision making process over to a diverse commission of individuals will ensure that roads are built based upon the infrastructure needs of the people rather than the political needs of a politician,&8221; said Ward.

Ward is confident if his bill becomes law, pressures felt by Interstate 65, Highways 52, 261 and 280 in one of the state&8217;s fastest growing counties will be more quickly recognized and remedied. The needs of local residents will not get back-logged in a system where favors determine what roads are widened or resurfaced.

Ward&8217;s bill failed to be considered by the Senate the last time it was passed. We think it is time the Senate act to let decisions over road projects be based upon a consensus of need, rather than as political bargaining chips.