FUNDING: Alabama legislature cuts state agencies to protect DOT funding

May 4, 2017

It’s not often there’s a story where transportation infrastructure wins out in politics

An Alabama State Senate committee this week approved a $1.8 billion 2018 General Fund budget—which for one northern Alabama lawmaker was an opportunity to a demand a change in favor of transportation infrastructure funding. The rub is that the change represents a cut of more than 3% to state agencies.

Sen. Paul Sanford (R-Huntsville) sponsored an amendment that restores to the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) about $63.5 million per year that is currently pulled from the agency each year to support others in the General Fund.

“We’re telling people we need a gas tax, but we’ve been taking money from roads and bridges to use elsewhere,” Sanford said. “My argument has been, why aren’t we using the money we’re currently getting? . . . It’s disingenuous to tell the citizens of the state we need a 4-, 5-, 6-cent gas tax (increase) as $63 million a year goes out the back door.”

The budget is now headed to the full Senate.

The money pulled from ALDOT currently goes to the court system and the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency. Sanford’s amendment would mean a cut of 3.4% to all agencies.