Jeffco opposes Grants Mill Bridge toll idea - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

Jeffco opposes Grants Mill Bridge toll idea

By Alan Collins

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Opposition is mounting regarding the conversion of Grants Mill Bridge into a toll road. Tuesday, Birmingham Mayor William Bell announced he is looking at the possibility of allowing a private company build the bridge and recoup the cost through a toll road. "What I was looking at what was the fastest way we could get the bridge built and completed. That is one option. We haven't eliminated the other options yet." Bell said.

Wednesday, 3 of 5 Jefferson County Commissioners opposed the idea of a toll bridge. "We don't need to come in and put toll roads on anyone that leaves and people coming here to work every day." Jim Carns, Jefferson Co. Commissioner  said.

The commission did okay sending $67 million in federal stimulus funds to the city of Birmingham for various road projects. Some commissioners believe those funds can be used to rebuild the bridge without charging a  toll. "I'm opposed to the private sector making a profit off of that bridge. It's just not the way to go." said Commissioner Bettye Fine Collins.

"The city of Birmingham could get part of the toll revenue if the project is approved. Jefferson County Commissioner Shelia Smoot says the county should not try and interfere with the toll bridge. "This is a city of Birmingham position. They have voted what they want. I just don't think Jefferson County has any jurisdiction over the city of Birmingham with what it wants to do," added Smoot.

Commissioner Bobby Humphryes heads Roads and Transportation. He says even if the county objects, Birmingham could still go to the Alabama Department of Transportation for approval.

The city of Birmingham could get part of the toll revenue if the project is approved. Jefferson County Commissioner Shelia Smoot says the county should not try and interfere with the toll bridge. "This is a city of Birmingham position. They have voted what they want. I just don't think Jefferson County has any jurisdiction over the city of Birmingham with what it wants to do," Smoot said. Humphryes heads Roads and Transportation. He says even if the county objects Birmingham could still go to the Alabama Department of Transportation for approval.

Copyright 2010 WBRC. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly