State Sen. Chris Elliott (R-Josephine) spoke on "The Jeff Poor Show" on Mobile radio's FM Talk 106.5 Friday just hours after the Alabama Supreme Court decided to lift a preliminary injunction ordered by a lower court, allowing for the building of a third bridge over the Intercoastal Waterway.
"It looks like the other bridge is back on,” Elliott said. “You know, again, my position has always been we just need to figure this out and y'all need to get it straight and get on the same page. So, as long as we're figuring out a way to build more lanes, that's a good thing."
Elliott pointed out Chief Justice Tom Parker's opinion on the matter.
"You shall not show partiality in judgment; you shall hear the small and the great alike.' Deuteronomy 1:17 (NASB)," Parker wrote. "Unless the Alabama government is the defendant."
"That has to scare you just a little bit," Elliott responded. "... Basically, the state can do whatever the state wants to do no matter its motives and no matter the cost."
Elliott said his next concern is the cost to taxpayers and if it's worth it. After the Baldwin County Bridge Company (BCBC) filed the lawsuit, ALDOT continued work on the new bridge. A lower court ordered a preliminary injunction on the bridge's construction, kicking off months of legal battles.
"For everybody else in the state of Alabama, you know, is there a real kind of assessment of what it is really costing to put two more lanes across the canal here in south Baldwin County?" Elliott continued. "You know, is it $60 million, is it $120 million or are we now forced through an inverse condemnation proceeding to now pay money to the bridge company because we've killed their business? And what is that number? And does the rest of the state of Alabama go, 'Wow! Was this really worth it or should we have looked a little bit harder at what the bridge company was offering?"
Elliott said it is also essential for ALDOT to look at improvements elsewhere to move people north and south. He said the projects taking place could pave the way for ALDOT to own all bridges across the Intercoastal Waterway eventually.
"Well, folks, I think you heard it here first," Elliott said after Poor suggested the new bridge could be a bad-faith project. "I think Jeff, you're onto something. I think the likelihood that the state ends up owning both bridges is probably pretty good. I think that how you, in the long term, well after Director Cooper is gone and Governor Ivey is gone, how do we take these projects that have been cobbled together, and this is a good one to look at, and really make them effective?"
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