Public transportation bill sails through Alabama House committee

A good month for public transportation advocates in Alabama continued Wednesday when a state House committee approved legislation to create an Alabama Public Transportation Trust Fund. SB 85, sponsored by Sen. Rodger Smitherman, D-Birmingham, now goes to the House, which could vote on the bill and send it to Gov. Kay Ivey as soon as Tuesday.

The Senate voted 26-0 for the measure last week. A similar bill – HB 10, sponsored by Rep. Jack Williams, R-Vestavia Hills – also won House committee approval earlier this month.

Alabama is one of five states with no state funding for public transportation. As a result, the state leaves tens of millions of dollars of federal matching funds on the table every year. This lack of investment in public transportation makes it harder for thousands of Alabamians, especially seniors and people with disabilities, to meet basic needs like getting to work or the doctor’s office. It also poses a barrier to economic development and job creation. For those reasons and others, Arise members chose public transportation as one of our 2018 issue priorities.

SB 85 and HB 10 would not provide state public transportation funding, but they would create a landing place for future state or federal appropriations to support and expand public transportation options in Alabama. The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA) would administer the fund. Click here for more information on the bills.

By Chris Sanders, communications director. Posted Jan. 31, 2018.