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Ainsworth continues to drive for state aid on I-65

MONTGOMERY — The bumper-to-bumper “parking lot” of I-65 through North Alabama continues to infuriate motorists.

And a resident of the area, who happens to carry considerable weight in the state government, is carrying the torch to fight for relief of the near-daily situation.

Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth is again calling for a change in leadership at the Alabama Department of Transportation after the agency recently diverted more than $1 billion in funding to a rural highway project running from Thomasville to just north of Moundville.

Ainsworth, who lives in Guntersville, said the money should be used for road projects in more populated and trafficked areas of the state.

“With new jobs, new investments, and new families moving there daily, the Tennessee Valley is quickly outgrowing its roads and infrastructure, and when traffic gridlock results, the area’s growth is threatened,” Ainsworth said. “Rather than keeping this economic boom going, the Alabama Department of Transportation and its director, John Cooper, are throwing water on the fire by diverting more than 1 billion purely state dollars to a rural highway project where there is little traffic, less population, and decidedly fewer jobs.”

Ainsworth said rural areas of the state should receive proper funding also, but not before areas with a higher population density.

“We have to address areas where the growth and population needs are greatest – like Huntsville and Baldwin County on the Gulf Coast – while also leveraging federal dollars for needed projects in rural areas of the state,” he said.

As a long-time resident of North Alabama, one road improvement project remains of particular importance to him.

“At the same time, widening I-65 to end hour-long waits in standstill traffic remains a priority,” Ainsworth said.

Ainsworth said the agency is very much in need of two things.

“It’s obvious that ALDOT is long overdue for new leadership,” he said. “And a good dose of common sense at the top.”

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