Bell focuses on transportation in State of the City speech

By Ashley Nix

BIRMINGHAM (WBRC) - With Birmingham coming out of a financial crisis, Mayor William Bell says there's still a lot to do.

In his State of the City address Tuesday, Bell addressed accomplishments and the future. He said whether you live or work in Birmingham, he wants everyone to be proud of the Magic City.

To do that, Bell said he's spent countless hours on many projects, such as the Westin Hotel deal, the Fair Park project, getting access to federal money and making Birmingham a sports destination.

Nevertheless, Bell says: "The list is too short. I've got to add to the list. There's not enough things going on."

Simply put, Bell says 2010 was about completing the "chores."

This year will be about the real work—starting with regional cooperation and the business community.

"I'm basing my entire administration on public, private partnership. Those we can get I will pursue. It helps to leverage dollars. Instead of us putting in one or two city dollars, we can put in one or two and generate three or four private dollars to go along with that."

Bell's No. 1 goal for the coming year is an issue plaguing the city—the transit system.

The mayor traveled to Washington D.C. last week to talk about a light rail, something he says will come, but it will take money.

"If we are able to come up with funding, there are plenty of funds in Washington for us to start building a light rail system here in Birmingham."

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