Arise’s new approach to public transportation funding picked up momentum Wednesday as the House Transportation, Utilities and Infrastructure Committee approved HB 454, sponsored by Rep. Jack Williams, R-Vestavia Hills. The bill would create the Alabama Public Transportation Trust Fund as a repository for future state appropriations to expand public transit options in the state. The bill now awaits consideration by the full House.
Under HB 454, the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA) would administer the trust fund, including making and auditing project awards. The bill would require ADECA to adopt trust fund rules, conduct a public transportation needs assessment and make annual reports.
An amendment defines the composition of the trust fund’s advisory committee. The committee, which would include individuals recommended by Alabama Arise and other advocacy organizations, is designed to ensure that projects supported by the trust fund address the needs of rural areas, seniors, and people with disabilities.
Alabama is one of only five states that provide no state funding for public transportation. Every year, Alabama leaves millions of dollars in matching federal transportation funds on the table because we can’t put up the state portion. Arise considers HB 454 a sensible first step toward expanding public transportation options in Alabama.
By Jim Carnes, policy director. Posted April 19, 2017.