Democrats’ infrastructure deal is bad for Alabama

Published 9:51 am Wednesday, July 7, 2021

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By Rep. Jerry Carl

This past weekend as we celebrated Independence Day, many of you likely travelled to visit friends and family, or maybe even spent a relaxing day at the beach. If you travelled any distance, whether short or far, you probably noticed we have significant infrastructure needs as our region continues to grow and tourism traffic increases.

As a former county commissioner, I know firsthand how important it is to continually invest in real infrastructure – things like roads, bridges, airports, ports and waterways, and especially rural broadband. Unfortunately, Democrats’ misplaced infrastructure priorities were on full display last week as they rammed through their “My Way or the Highway” bill. I voted no on this bill because it has very little to do with infrastructure and had no money for infrastructure projects in south Alabama.

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This legislation is a bad deal for south Alabama and the entire nation. It creates 41 new government programs, ties up half of the money meeting Green New Deal mandates, green lights the use of federal transit money on art or non-functional landscape, funnels even more of our tax dollars to a failed California High Speed Rail project, and removes bipartisan measures to prevent billions of tax dollars from being wasted on bureaucratic red tape.

Even worse, this deal provides $4 billion for electric vehicle (EV) charging deployment, which will mostly flow to the Chinese government. Ironically, China is the world’s worst emissions producer, and the Chinese-controlled EV mineral chain is well known for the use of child and slave labor. Republicans offered an amendment to ensure none of our tax dollars go to support these practices, but the Democrats immediately rejected it.

These policies and priorities obviously favor big cities in liberal states like New York and California, while leaving smaller, more rural states like Alabama in the dust. Hidden deep in this legislation is a terrible provision prohibiting states from building new roads or bridges until they first focus on what the federal government defines as good repair projects. The last thing we need in Alabama is the federal government telling us which local projects we are allowed to spend our money on.

Keeping up with population growth and economic growth are critical to the future of south Alabama, and we desperately need funding for projects such as increased access to rural broadband and a new bridge over the Mobile River. South Alabama is a great place to live, work, and raise a family, but we do have some real needs. Despite all the nonsense in Washington, I remain focused and committed on fighting for increased funding for actual infrastructure projects in south Alabama.