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The Mobile and Eastern Shore Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) unanimously approved moving forward with a $2.7 billion Mobile River Bridge and Bayway proposal unveiled by the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) in June.

With the vote, the two MPOs have now included it in their Transportation and Improvement Plan (TIP).

Eastern Shore MPO chairman and Fairhope City Councilman Jack Burrell applauded the vote, noting the need for infrastructure improvements for Baldwin County, the state's second-fastest growing county.

“Today’s vote was a landmark moment for Baldwin County,” he said in a statement. “The Eastern Shore has grown by leaps and bounds over the past decades, and our infrastructure has not kept pace. Today’s vote paves the way for providing the traffic relief we need in a way that makes sense for Baldwin County drivers.”

Officials anticipate $1.25 billion in federal funding, $250 million in state funding and an estimated $1.2 billion from other sources, including revenue from tolls.

Unlike the 2019 plan, existing infrastructure, including the Bankhead and Wallace Tunnels and the existing U.S. Highway 90/98 Causeway, will remain untolled.

The proposed tolling for the project is $2.50 each way for automobiles with transponders and $5.50 for those without transponders.

The long-debated project was put on hold in 2019 after a failed effort by Gov. Kay Ivey and ALDOT director John Cooper to force through a proposal that would have included tolls at $6 each way and tolls for the existing infrastructure.

Once construction is underway, officials project completion in five years.

To connect with the author of this story, or to comment, email jeff.poor@1819News.com.

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