State Public Transportation Bill makes its way through Legislature

The group Alabama Arise has been working on creating public transit in Alabama for decades. At press conference Tuesday, they spoke out about the need.

“Public transportation effects urban people and rural people. Black people and white people. It affects people with jobs and without jobs. It affects people with disabilities, senior citizens. And unfortunately this is an area where we have not gone forward we have gone backward,” said Kimble Forrister, Alabama Arise Exec. Director.

A bill now in the legislature would provide funding for public transit and allow for federal funding as well.
Lawmakers pushing for the legislation say it will benefit the state in several ways.

“Public transportation that is spent wisely and spent well is economic development money; it’s job creation. We want to be in the position to take advantage of anything we can get from Washington or other sources that create greater opportunities for the citizens of Jefferson County and the citizens of Alabama,” said Rep. Jack Williams of Jefferson County.

While Montgomery has the “M” that clocks 2500 daily route miles, Mayor Todd Strange says he would like to have federal funds to help carry some of the load.

“At the end of the day, we get about a million dollars from the ridership and that leaves about a 6 million dollar deficit that we have to fund,” said Strange.

Some lawmakers say they are confident the public transit in Alabama is on the way…

“I want to get on a public transportation in Bhma AL and ride it all the way down here to Mgm to the legislature. That’s what my goal is!” said Sen. Rodger Smitherman from Birmingham.

The bill has passed the Senate and now awaiting the House vote.

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