Big 5 Chambers, CCAA throw their support behind Kay Ivey’s gas tax plan

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Big 5 Chambers and CCAA

With a vote expected to take place in the State House on Friday, more groups are publicly taking a stand in support of Gov. Kay Ivey‘s proposed 10 cent-per-gallon increase in the state gas tax.

The “Big 5 Chambers” of Alabama — Birmingham Business Alliance (BBA), Chamber of Commerce of Huntsville/Madison County, Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce, Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce and The Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama — and the Chamber of Commerce Association of Alabama (CCAA) have united with the Business Council of Alabama (BCA) to urge their support for Ivey’s Rebuild Alabama bill in to strengthen Alabama’s infrastructure.

“The BBA supports the Rebuild Alabama Act and its intended purpose of increasing Alabama’s public investment in transportation infrastructure, promoting economic growth and increasing public safety on Alabama’s roads,” said Greg Curran, Chairman of the Firm, Maynard Cooper & Gale PC and Vice Chairman of the BBA’s Public Policy Committee.

Increasing Alabama’s public investment in infrastructure is a top priority critical to the economic development community. The chambers believe the Rebuild Alabama legislation will help fund projects across the state, ultimately spurring job growth and ensuring that Alabama is able to successfully compete for new business.

“Transportation infrastructure is vital to the economic vitality of our region and the State,” stated Chip Cherry, president and CEO of the Huntsville-Madison County Chamber of Commerce. “The increase in funding for transportation infrastructure projects will make the roads safer for our citizens, support economic development, and provide one of the key foundational elements needed for future growth and development.”

Bill Sisson, the Mobile Area Chamber’s president and CEO, believes it’s “incredibly important” for the business community to come together in support of the legislation.

“It is incredibly important that we come together as a business community to support this bill,” said Sisson. “As companies look to locate and expand here, they are carefully analyzing our infrastructure capabilities. The Port of Mobile is the gateway for Alabama’s exports to reach the world. The better our ports, roads, bridges and traffic patterns are, the faster we will rise on their short list of viable locations.”

The state currently imposes a flat excise tax of 18 cents-per-gallon on gas and 19 cents-per-gallon on diesel, without adjusting for inflation and other construction and maintenance costs.

This combined fuel tax revenue generates 80 percent of Alabama’s transportation funding. The plan’s 10-cent increase will be phased in over the next three years.

“Rebuild Alabama is critical in order for local communities and our state to be a competitor in economic development, not to mention providing a better quality of life and safety for our citizens,” added Willie Durham, Chairman of the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce.

“Governor Ivey’s Rebuild Alabama package also creates unprecedented accountability and oversight of transportation revenue,” said Jim Page, president and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama. “Our chambers urge Alabama lawmakers to approve this long overdue legislation. Failure to do so has too great a cost – in lost economic opportunities and, most importantly, in lives.”

“Chambers of Commerce are the pillars of our communities, and we are strongest when we stand together,” said Jeremy Arthur, president and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce Association of Alabama, which represents more than 100 local chambers in Alabama. “We can no longer sit idling while every other state around us improves their infrastructure and lands the jobs and industries that otherwise would come to Alabama.”