Alabama Congressional Race Shadowed by I-10 Project and Toll Concerns

Credits: The Columbus Dispatch

In the realm of political strategy, the saying “all politics is local,” once championed by House Speaker Tip O’Neill, has been largely overshadowed by broader national and international issues.

In Alabama’s 1st congressional district GOP primary race, the focus has shifted towards topics like border control, conservative values, foreign affairs, inflation, and the legacy of former President Donald Trump, leaving local concerns somewhat sidelined.

However, one local issue with significant national and state implications is the Interstate 10 Mobile River Bridge & Bayway project. The $2.7 billion project has been a point of contention, particularly regarding the proposed tolls to fund it.

Congressional Race (Credits: NPR)

Republican candidates U.S. Rep. Jerry Carl of Mobile and U.S. Rep. Barry Moore of Enterprise have not made the project a focal point of their campaigns, preferring to align themselves with broader national issues such as the Biden administration and the conflict in Ukraine.

Carl believes that Trump would be more likely to support the project than Biden, despite Trump never explicitly endorsing it during his presidency.

Moore, on the other hand, sees the state’s fuel tax increase in 2019 as a potential source of funding, although the funds generated by this tax are insufficient for a project of this scale.

Both candidates have also linked the project to broader political narratives, with Carl criticizing Biden for prioritizing “Green New Deal projects” over infrastructure and Moore advocating for redirecting funds from foreign aid to domestic projects like the I-10 bridge.

The primary election on March 5th, which pits two incumbents against each other, will likely determine the eventual winner of the congressional seat in this heavily conservative district.

The candidates’ differing approaches to the I-10 project reflect their broader political philosophies, with Carl emphasizing bipartisan cooperation and Moore advocating for a more combative stance.

The outcome of the election will not only shape the future of the I-10 project but also influence federal funding priorities for infrastructure projects in Baldwin County, an area experiencing rapid growth.

Whichever candidate wins, securing funding for the I-10 bridge and Bayway project will be a crucial task, requiring cooperation and advocacy at the federal level.

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