Hoover council agrees with state's plan for Highway 280

By Jonathan Hardison

HOOVER, AL (WBRC) -  The state's plan to add elevated and toll lanes to Highway 280 may still have some life after Hoover's city council votes in favor of the plan.

After hearing from a few residents who oppose ADLOT's plan to add elevated and toll lanes onto 280, Hoover's council voted 6-1 in favor of a resolution supporting the plan. But Hoover's mayor says this yes vote doesn't mean the city likes everything about the $800 million dollar plan.

"If it physically and financially doesn't work, then the plug can be pulled," Hoover Mayor Tony Petelos said. "As far as the city of Hoover, we're going to continue to have questions from our business people, from our homeowners in this area, and we're going to continue to support this program. But at some point in the future, we may have to pull the plug on it ourselves."

Council member Gene Smith voted against the resolution because he says ALDOT hasn't answered all of his questions about how tolls could support the project's cost.    
"I just threw that vote out to remind ALDOT and the state that even though they're asking communities to come together, they also need to be quick in coming with responses to the questions that are brought forth," Smith said. But Smith said he still wants to see ALDOT address the 280 problem. "Every long walk starts with the first steps. And at this point I think we've gone beyond the first steps and this region has gone into a trot, and hopefully a trot will turn into a run and we'll find our answers sooner rather than later."

 "We just didn't want to see it to die because what we were told is that if the cities don't support this, the project is dead, and there's no funding for any other solution, which scares me," Petelos said..     

Homewood has already voted not to support the ADOT plan because of concerns about the impact the added lanes will have on property values and businesses in that city.

Birmingham will vote tomorrow and is expected to have enough votes to pass a resolution against the plan. Chelsea's city council is scheduled to vote either for or against the plan Tuesday night.

Copyright 2010 WBRC. All rights reserved.