The Alabama Senate last week passed a bill that would authorize the issuance of $650 million of revenue bonds for highways, roads and bridges.

If passed by the House, where it is now under consideration, and signed by the governor, SB 339 would allow the Alabama Highway Authority to issue the bonds secured by an existing 13-cent per gallon tax on diesel fuel.

The fuel tax currently generates about  $87 million a year.

The bill also creates the Public Road and Bridge Construction Fund where bond proceeds would be deposited and creates a five-member Construction Council to review requests made by counties for projects to be funded.

Gov. Robert Bentley, who is working on a competing proposal, reportedly has said he will veto the Senate plan.

Bentley is working on his own program to issue $600 million to $650 million of grant anticipation revenue vehicle bonds over three years. He already has called for initial project proposals to be funded by the Alabama Transportation Rehabilitation and Improvement Program, or ATRIP.

The Alabama Department of Transportation is administering ATRIP as a federal-aid highway program that funds up to 80% of construction. Local sponsors are expected to provide at least 20% of construction costs.

No time frame has been announced for the first sale of Garvees under Bentley’s program. Less than two weeks remain of this year’s annual legislative session.

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