Huntsville focuses a lot on standard of living, and that means easy commutes.
Keeping main arteries pumping means a lot to the health of the city.
But when the Alabama Department of Transportation makes its decisions on funding road projects, it boils down to a simple question.
ALDOT’s First Division Engineer Johnny Harris asks, “What can you realistically afford to maintain and construct at the same time?”
He says ALDOT would like to help expand main thoroughfares, but they’ve also got to maintain the roads they’ve already paved, “Bottom line is there’s less money available . . . through federal and state gasoline taxes . . . and there’s increasing costs from the standpoint of the materials and the construction costs.”
Johnny Harris says that’s the main conflict for ALDOT. Fuel efficient cars mean less gas tax money, less gas tax money means less income for the department, and less income for the department means spreading money thinner.
That money already has to do a lot, from resurfacing roadways to replacing bridges.
So you can see why ALDOT is concerned about expanding major thoroughfares at the same time.
Because when rubber hits the road, as it does all day long all around the city and state, the money starts to drain.