Transportation bill eliminates designated source of funding for Northern Beltline, but keeps it on track | al.com

Transportation bill eliminates designated source of funding for Northern Beltline, but keeps it on track | al.com: BIRMINGHAM, Alabama -- The federal transportation bill enacted earlier this month eliminates the separate, designated source of funding that was to be used to build a 52-mile interstate beltline north of Birmingham. But at the same time, it includes incentives and directives aimed at keeping the project on track.
Opponents of the $4.7 billion Northern Beltline say the change takes away one of the proponents' main arguments -- that money designated for the project can't be spent on other more pressing transportation needs. Now beltline spending will compete with transportation priorities statewide.
But supporters, who see the beltline as an economic bonanza for Jefferson County, say the legislation increases the appeal of the beltline by eliminating the requirement that the state provide a 20 percent match for federal funding. Now Appalachian Development Highway System projects can be paid for 100 percent with federal dollars.
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