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Fort Payne

Off The Record: The latest rumors and rumblings in North Alabama

 

Special session

A special session is coming. The Alabama Legislature will begin a special session Wednesday. Legislators will use the session to focus on ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) funds. Alabama received $2.1 billion under ARPA and a January 2022 special legislative session dealt with the first half of the money. Lawmakers now need to decide what to do with the approximate $1 billion in federal COVID-19 relief funds that remain.

Not so political after all 

The recent 256 Today article citing the GAO report that outlined the selection process for the site of the Space Command Headquarters and contained the Air Force’s scores rating of each community has sent ripples through Alabama and Colorado. The scores from the selection process clearly shows Colorado Springs isn’t second in the contest and ranks low in several categories. Insiders say this will make it very difficult for the Biden Administration to award the HQ to blue state Colorado as, according to the scores, the only reason to do so would be political factors. The fact that Colorado leaders have long claimed politics was the only reason Alabama won in the first place makes an overtly political move in their favor even more difficult.

More coming

The Port of Mobile continues to expand its reach with last month’s announcement that they will build and operate an inland intermodal transit facility in Montgomery. The facility will be a hub for containers hauled by rail and truck to make transit to and from the port more efficiently. The $54 million facility will span more than 200 acres. The port is eyeing Birmingham and north Alabama sites for similar facilities.

The trail to everything

State Sen. Andrew Jones, who represents District 10 that covers Etowah and Cherokee counties, as well as portions of Dekalb County, was seen meeting with the staff of the Singing River Trail to discuss a comprehensive outdoor recreation and economic plan for North Alabama. The propitious proceedings could mean big things for the region and his district. Stay tuned for what the SRT and Sen. Jones might be planning for the proposed 220-plus-mile greenway system that will wind its way across the northern region of the state.

2026 rumblings

Even though she just began her second full term in January, impatient politicos are preliminarily picking favorites on who might replace Ivey for Governor in 2026. While the odds-on favorite seems to be Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth, Attorney General Steve Marshall has also been heavily favored. However, an Ainsworth-Marshall matchup might not be in the cards after all. Some sources are saying Marshall has his eye on the state’s highest court, instead.

Have a rumor or rumbling to share? Email [email protected].

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