Republican gubernatorial hopeful Tim James brought his campaign to Southwest Alabama on Wednesday with stern disapproval of his opponent, incumbent Gov. Kay Ivey's infrastructure policy.

James singled out three projects that he claimed were mishandled by the Ivey administration during her tenure: the West Alabama Corridor that would offer four-lane access between Mobile and Tuscaloosa, the Interstate 10 Mobile River Bridge and Bay and the ongoing construction at the U.S. Highway 84 and Interstate 65 interchange near Evergreen.

The West Alabama Corridor project, estimated to have a price tag of up to $800 million, was first announced in Ivey's 2021 State of the State address.

The route will be completed entirely with state dollars and no federal matching component, which James questioned given the current low-traffic counts on U.S. Highway 43, set to be a part of the West Alabama Corridor.

"In the state of Alabama, you have heard of federal matching dollars," James said. "These percentages can change a little bit but where you have federal help, the state puts in 20% and the federal government, the Federal Highway Administration, matches it with 80%.

"On this West Alabama boondoggle, they're going to take 100% state money and they won't get any federal matching money. So in other words, they're willing to trade $3 billion for $750 million. They're giving back $2.5 billion. Never seen anything like it. We need mathematicians in Montgomery."

A source familiar with the project told 1819 News the Ivey administration chose to forgo the federal matching component on the West Alabama Corridor because it will expedite the construction project and considerably lessen the cost.

Earlier, James appeared on Mobile radio FM Talk 106.5's "The Jeff Poor Show" and said it was not necessarily an overhaul of the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) needed but that it needed the proper leadership.

"You just need a governor who cleans house and puts a good highway director in there," James said. "I mean, the governor is elected by the people. The director of transportation is a cabinet-level position. It serves at the pleasure of the governor. It is the extension of the governor. The director of transportation is a mouthpiece of the governor and carries out the governor's agenda.

"What's happened during this administration is that the governor is responsible for her highway director or her transportation director. And the buck stops in the governor's office. It has been mismanaged ... and it is not even in the realm of being reasonable how they are running this department, let alone keeping a checklist of people who didn't vote for the gas tax and trying to cut out projects in their district because they're mad at them. We don't operate like that in a free society, and when you see this sort of bullying mentality, you've got to stop it right now."

Republicans will head to the polls on May 24 to select their preference for who will represent the GOP on the November ballot.

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