Fixing our roads: Partnership launches campaign to gain senators support, petitions to let voters decide on road improvement funding

State Sen. Hank Erwin (R-Montevallo) said he wants proof that Shelby County voters would consider funding measures to improve local roads and ease traffic congestion.

In an effort to meet his request, The Partnership, a public-private consortium of the Greater Shelby County Chamber of Commerce, is hoping to collect more than 2,500 names on a petition to give the county limited home rule.

The push comes in response to Erwin&8217;s lack of support for Senate Bill 360, introduced by Sen. J.T. &8220;Jabo&8221; Waggoner (R-Vestavia Hills). The legislation calls for a constitutional amendment to create a Shelby County Road Congestion, Safety and Traffic Improvement Trust Fund.

The amendment would grant the Shelby County Commission authority to develop a plan and funding &8212; taxes and/or fees &8212; to come before voters for final approval.

Erwin must sign off on the bill, which is currently in committee, before it reaches the senate floor. He has pledged to do so if The Partnership meets three specific requests: obtain a unanimous resolution of support from the Shelby County Commission, get 2,000 to 4,000 signatures on a petition and hold public forums to discuss the matter.

Jennifer Trammell, president of the Greater Shelby Chamber, said she is confident all three requests could be met.

&8220;People are very interested in this subject,&8221; Trammell said. &8220;They are interested in having a voice.&8221;

Through its &8220;Let&8217;s Get Moving&8221; campaign, the Partnership has distributed petitions throughout the county&8217;s neighborhoods, businesses, ballparks and churches, she said.

Three public forums are scheduled for May 14 at 7 p.m. Locations include Jefferson State Community College&8217;s Valleydale campus, the University of Montevallo&8217;s Comer Hall and Chelsea City Hall.

The county commission has a resolution on its May 14 meeting agenda.

Although he said he would throw his &8220;whole energy&8221; behind the legislation if the requests are met, Erwin remains unconvinced Shelby County residents feel strongly enough about the issue to consider funding traffic improvements.

He cited recent elections and a telephone survey by the legislative delegation as reasons for his opposition thus far.

&8220;My voters told me they don&8217;t want to raise taxes,&8221; Erwin said