A majority of poll respondents are in favor of a controversial plan to cut down on traffic on Alabama’s I-10 in the Mobile area by diverting truck traffic onto a new tolled bridge.
The $725 million plan was introduced by Alabama authorities in late March 2021. Officials say that they believe they can down on traffic congestion on I-10 by building a new four lane bridge for trucks over the Mobile River.
Per the plan, all trucks longer than 46 feet in length would be banned from taking the I-10 Wallace Tunnel and would instead be required to use a new I-10 truck bridge. A toll of $10 to $15 would be put into place for trucks using the the new truck bridge. No new tolls would be placed on passenger vehicles under the plan.
On April 1, the Coastal Alabama Partnership (CAP) released the results of a poll suggesting that a majority of Mobile and Baldwin county residents surveyed are in favor of the truck toll bridge. Nearly 86 percent of those surveyed rate traffic congestion on the Bayway and through the Wallace Tunnel as bad or very bad during peak travel times.
According to CAP, “Poll respondents supported this new concept by a two to one margin, with 51 support saying they support it while less than 26 percent voiced opposition. 24 percent said they were unsure.“
Additionally, 77 percent of survey respondents said that removing truck from the Wallace Tunnel would significantly improve or somewhat improve traffic flow.
In addition to the Mobile River truck bridge, officials also want to separate cars and large trucks into designated lanes crossing the Bayway so they do not travel in the same lanes. CAP says that 64 percent of poll respondents said doing so would improve highway safety and traffic congestion, 15 percent responded it would not improve highway safety and traffic congestion, and 21 percent said they are unsure.
The American Trucking Associations (ATA) has spoken out against the truck-only toll and suggested that it may be in violation of the Dormant Commerce Clause, which prohibits states from discriminating against intestate commerce. The group has already suggested legal challenges to the truck-only toll plan.