As much as I love the song “Stars Fell on Alabama,’’ maybe it’s time to change the state’s official tune.

How about the oldy but goody that goes:

“We’re in the money

We’re in the money

We’ve got a lot of what it takes to get along!”

It was announced recently that Alabama is expected to receive $6.8 billion in infrastructure funding over the next five years as a result of the federal Infrastructure, Investment, and Jobs Act (known as the “IIJA,” because you know the government loves to buy a vowel - among other things).

“We’re still waiting on the federal guidance on what exactly we can do with this money,” Tom Layfield, executive director of the Alabama Road Builders Association, told the Alabama Daily News.

It’s hard to hear “giddy” when you are reading a quote, but it’s hard not to believe it isn’t in there somewhere.

Never mind that Governor Ivey has said that President Joe Biden has a spending problem. It’s amazing how “spending problems” seem not to matter so much when the money being “spent” is being spent on you.  

This pandemic gave politicians an excuse to do what they always want to do: spend money.

But before anyone thinks all of Alabama’s problems are solved, Layfield offered this caveat: “But from a cautionary standpoint, inflation is going to eat up a good bit of it.”

Let’s see: As measured by the consumer price index, inflation averaged 6.2 percent over the past year. Annual federal road and bridge funding is expected to increase by 32% under the new law. In October, ALDOT officials said the department “was not seeing anything alarming” in terms of road construction increases at this point.

That’s 6.2% inflation vs. 32% increase in funding and no alarming increase in construction costs.

I think we’re good, thank you very much

Here’s the best part: In 2019, the Alabama legislature approved a 10-cent gas tax increase that is expected to bring in $322 million in new revenue this year, and paves the way for an additional $.01 per gallon increase every two years. In her 2019 State of the State address, Ivey made it sound as if the new tax would solve all of the state’s infrastructure problems. Throw in the passage of the IIJA, and it would seem Alabamians should be driving on veritable streets of gold.

If the 10-cent gas tax has done all its supporters claimed it would, then it would appear the state doesn’t need more federal funding and the additional strings that come along with it. In fact, Ivey spokesperson Gina Maiola told the Daily News that “Thanks to Rebuild Alabama, our state is making improvements to roads, bridges and our port, no thanks to Congress or the Biden Administration.”

Take that, Joe Biden!

According to information from the U.S. Department of Transportation, over the next five years Alabama should expect something like $5.8 billion in highway and bridge funds (according to USDOT, that’s about 32% more per year than current federal funding); $402 million to improve public transportation options across the state; $142 million for airport infrastructure; $128 million to reduce transportation-related emissions; $79 million for the expansion of electric vehicle charging networks in the state; $44 million for commercial motor vehicle safety efforts to reduce crashes; $32 million for highway safety traffic programs; about $146 million to “increase the resilience of its transportation system” (whatever that means, and even state government officials aren’t sure).

So, cue up the band and let’s all join in a chorus of “we’re in the money.”

I am not suggesting that Alabama refuse the federal government's "largess." Maybe they should, but who turns down that kind of money?

No, because of this influx of cash I assume the next step will be that all of us Alabamians will see less money being taken from us in future taxes, right? Grocery taxes, property taxes, state income taxes, maybe even a repeal – even temporary – of the gas tax? I mean, all of this is in addition to scheduled gas tax rate increases the past three years, legalized medicinal marijuana as part of a new tax and regulatory structure, and attempts to legalize and tax gambling and a state lottery.

The increase in federal transportation funding should provide enough money to meet all of the goals of the Rebuild Alabama Act and then some, without taking more from the citizens of this state.

But wait – that song, “We’re In The Money?” In its day, it was also called “The Gold Diggers’ Song.”

Unfortunately, when it comes to government, that title has an all-too-familiar ring.

Ray Melick is Editor in Chief of 1819 News. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of 1819 News. To comment, please send an email with your name and contact information to