Alabama hopes that a makeover of its DOT will raise revenue for road projects. State Rep. Mac McCutcheon will sponsor such legislation in the upcoming session, which begins Feb. 5.
"This is an important bill and an important issue," said McCutcheon, a Capshaw Republican.
The bill would establish a five-member commission, with a member from each of the state's four regions and one from anywhere in the state. The commission would hire the DOT director and establish standards for the commission to use in deciding transportation projects and needs in the state.
The members would be appointed to staggered terms and would hire a transportation director. The governor now hires the transportation director and controls much of the department's spending on road projects.
McCutcheon said he believes the legislation has a good chance of passing, but he is ready to nix the bill if it is not amended to include the appointment of a second commission member from North Alabama, since more than half the people in the state live in that region.
"If we can't get it amended to get better representation for North Alabama, I'm urging all of our folks to kill it," he said.
The bill would also determine how the commission chooses to spend federal and state money on transportation projects. The department currently spends that money at its discretion, McCutcheon said.
The standards in the proposed bill would consider traffic counts, job creation and economic development, and safety, McCutcheon said.