A group comprised of business leaders and local officials announced their plans for a public connector route to Interstate 10 through the Wiregrass.
A road would be constructed to interstate specifications connecting Montgomery to areas in the Florida Panhandle. The idea has been the mission behind the scenes for many over the past few years, and on Monday, they announced more of their plans for the project.
Al Wenstrand, president of Florida’s Great Northwest said, "Interstate 10 is our lifeblood because it transcends our entire region, from international trade from the movement of goods and services. They don't move east [to] west, [but] they move north [to] south."
The major issue with a project of this scale is funding, but the group maintains that its plan for a public/private partnership can make this dream come to fruition.
Attorney Luther Strange said, "It would be done in a public, private format, something that has been used successfully in Texas and Virginia, but never done in the state of Alabama."
The corporation will sell bonds to fund the road. When the road is paid for in full in approximately 30 years, ownership will immediately revert back to the particular county who served as non-profit sponsors for the project.
Houston County Commission Chairman Mark Culver said, "I think if we continue to wait on the government, we might have to wait 20 years. This way, the timeframe you heard today was possibly in five and that is significant to our area.”
To illustrate the amount of support for this project, Chairman Culver handed us a letter he received from the director of the Alabama Department of Transportation, to assure that ALDOT will provide, "whatever assistance they can" in the development.
Organizers say county level sponsorship and the fact that the project spans multiple states makes it the first of its kind in the United States.