Mayor's Minute: September
September 3, 2019
The sight of orange barrels is often the result of poor road conditions and delays. It is frustrating, and feels never ending - there are times when I feel that way as well. In the two previous Mayor’s Minutes I have endeavored to provide insight into the timelines, management and challenges of rebuilding our community’s road and highway systems. If you missed the previous editions, you can view them here. In this final installment, I want to focus on the “why”.
In nearly 14 years of serving as your mayor, according the US Census Bureau, the City of Tuscaloosa (City) has grown by 20,000 people. To put that in context, the City’s 25 percent growth in population is larger than 95 percent of Alabama’s municipalities. To sustain the City’s efforts in building a better future, infrastructure is an essential element that must be addressed. Whether it is creating new jobs or significantly raising our quality of life, strong infrastructure is the nexus. It is also important to note that infrastructure is more than roads. From the City’s perspective, infrastructure must also include water, sanitary sewer, storm sewer, and fiber.
Whether it has been City managed projects such as Alberta Parkway, Rice Mine Road or Hargrove Road, or ALDOT project such as Lurleen Wallace Boulevard or I-59/20 expansion, the City has used these opportunities to invest in much needed upgrades to water, sewer, storm sewer and fiber. When the roads are being cut, it only makes financial and logistical sense to leverage that opportunity to build infrastructure that will serve for decades. In particular, our systems need to be built for the growth of tomorrow. In addition, the City’s infrastructure investments are built to a quality that meet high technological and environmental standards. By doing so, the City will be able to better maintain our assets in the years ahead while ensuring strict compliance to EPA and ADEM regulations.
We are in a great period of growth, and with that comes both opportunity and headaches. That being said, the City has strategically invested in a way that will strengthen the financial solvency of our community while raising our quality of life in the years and decades to come. In 14 years, we have always focused on the next generation and not the next election cycle, and as long as you allow me to serve, we will continue this successful tradition.