Transportation Reform in Alabama

SELC is working to reform transportation planning and to support cost-effective solutions that protect the environment and enhance quality of life.

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The Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) too often relies on building new or expanded highways to solve traffic problems without looking comprehensively at transportation needs and alternatives. Unlike many other southeastern states, ALDOT is not required to rank or prioritize the projects it chooses based on objective criteria. And too often, highways are built for political reasons and result in sprawl development, increased air and water pollution, and even more traffic. SELC is working at several levels to change the way ALDOT approaches transportation planning and to stop the most wasteful, environmentally harmful projects from moving forward.

The Northern Beltline

SELC and our Alabama partners want to see Birmingham thrive economically with a transportation system that supports a world-class city with a high quality of life. But the Northern Beltline is the wrong answer, as the project is bad for our environment and our economy.

The proposed 52-mile Northern Beltline would loop north of the Birmingham metro area through the watersheds of the Cahaba and Black Warrior rivers, threatening these important sources of drinking water. And at an estimated cost of $5.3 billion, the Beltline would consume a majority of scarce ALDOT resources, which could instead be used for other much-needed maintenance projects statewide to improve safety on existing roads and make infrastructure improvements at far less expense to taxpayers and the environment.

Fixing the congestion on Birmingham’s existing highways and making more cost-effective transportation investments will also create jobs – both construction jobs and permanent jobs that will be produced by attracting development to a city that has smoothly flowing traffic arteries and diverse transportation options.  

See our separate case page on this project.

A Path to the Future

SELC and our partners are working to meet transportation challenges with innovative and effective solutions that protect our environment and enhance our quality of life. There are numerous opportunities in Alabama to improve existing transportation infrastructure and expand public transit.  Regional transportation problems can be greatly relieved by upgrading road connections, improving secondary roads and access points, repairing existing roads and bridges, and broadening public transportation options, like bus and rail.

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