The Alabama Senate last week approved a bill that would let voters decide on Nov. 2 if the state should take $1 billion from its biggest savings account over the next decade to pay for road, bridge, and rail projects.

SB 121, sponsored by Sen. Lowell Barron, D-Fyffe, passed by a 25-to-10 vote and was sent to the House for consideration. The bill doesn’t address whether the yearly amounts can be leveraged.

The bill proposes a constitutional amendment that would transfer $100 million annually from the Alabama Trust Fund beginning in fiscal 2011. The trust fund collects most of the royalties paid to the state by companies that pump natural gas from offshore locations.

The amendment would provide $75 million annually to the Department of Transportation for its projects. But $5 million of that amount must be used in each congressional district in the state and $1 million must be used for railroad infrastructure.

The remaining $25 million withdrawn each year would be distributed to cities and counties for new construction, maintenance, and repair.

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