Tasked with providing accountability to the taxpayers of Alabama by maintaining accurate records of all personal property valued at $500 and above, State Auditor Jim Zeigler is taking his responsibility to the people of Alabama one step further: questioning the spending priorities of the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT).
On Tuesday, Zeigler sent a letter to John Cooper, Transportation Director at ALDOT and William Patty, ALDOT Chief Counsel, inquiring about the need for an $87 million state-funded bridge project in Baldwin County — which would be a second bridge to Orange Beach.
Zeigler requested the following documents from the ALDOT:
- Copies of any and all studies that demonstrated a need for a bridge over the Intercoastal waterway
- Any and all documents that show a change in the need for the Intercoastal bridge since the determination in 2016 that the bridge was unnecessary
- Any and all analyses to support spending $30-$87 million in state funds in light of the pressing infrastructure needs throughout the state
- Any and all documents that resulted in the range of costs projected ($30 to $87 million)
- Documents that show cost overruns on current and recent ALDOT projects
- According to the court filing from the bridge company, they agreed to widen their bridge at no additional cost to Please provide any and all documents that address why the option of widening the original bridge is not being utilized.
“I have more questions than I do answers about the proposed additional bridge. I hope to solve that with my specific requests for public records,” Zeigler explained. “With other pressing needs for infrastructure improvements, we need to make sure that this $30 to $87 million-dollar project is the best use of our limited funds.”
Zeigler continued, “Could this money be better spent to finish ‘Bloody 98’ in Mobile County; to solve congestion on I-65, U.S. 280 and I-565; and to address dozens of local projects? The public needs to know, and I intend to figure it out.”
Read Zeigler’s letter below: