04/21/2017 | News release | Distributed by Public on 04/21/2017 09:20
MONTGOMERY - Mayors from Alabama's five largest cities met in Montgomery today where they urged state lawmakers to support issues critical to residents of Birmingham, Huntsville, Mobile, Montgomery and Tuscaloosa, a constituency comprising nearly one third of the state's population.
'This tradition began a few years ago where we come together as the state's five big city mayors who have common interests, share best practices and put our heads together to see what we can do to move our cities forward,' Mayor Strange said. 'If we continue moving our cities forward, then we know the state of Alabama moves forward.'
In meetings today and yesterday with Governor Kay Ivey, key cabinet members and state legislative leadership, Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle, Birmingham Mayor William Bell, Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox, Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson and Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange addressed several priorities with lawmakers.
Maintaining and improving Alabama's infrastructure tops their list of collective concerns since it is essential to economic development. While cities allocate larger portions of their budgets to local infrastructure, state and federally controlled highways, byways and interchanges must keep up with the demands of commerce.
In keeping with the jobs and economic development theme, the mayors urged legislators to pass a bill renewing the historic tax credit, a proven component to cities' growth and development. They also encouraged increasing the cap available for economic development in the Alabama Jobs Act.
Private sector innovation has been a driving force of change for local codes of ordinances as companies like Uber and Lyft disrupt traditional service models. The mayors committed to working together with state leadership and ridesharing companies to find compromises allowing for expansion in Alabama, while ensuring municipalities can institute the measures needed to enforce safety protocol. The current legislation takes away cities' abilities to provide public safety oversight in regards to vehicles for hire.
After this week's session, 'Alabama's Big Five' plan to continue working together to fight for issues important to residents in Birmingham, Huntsville, Mobile, Montgomery and Tuscaloosa who account for more than one third of the state's population.