Alabama congressional delegation pushes for $772 million in earmarks –

Members of Alabama’s congressional delegation requested funding for more than $772 million in domestic spending projects as part of the omnibus funding bill passed Thursday by the Senate and awaiting approval by the House.
The domestic-related projects do not include defense or space-related items.
Related: Richard Shelby could bring Alabama $1.2 billion in earmarks in final spending bill
The largest single domestic-related project in Alabama is $200 million requested by retiring Sen. Richard Shelby, the top Republican on the Senate Appropriations Committee and a lead negotiator on the omnibus bill along with close friend and Appropriations Chair Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont.
According to Shelby’s office, the $200 million project includes, “The Intermodal and Terminal Expansion Project, which includes: rail infrastructure and improvements in north Alabama, including the construction of an inland container intermodal transfer facility; expansion of the Port of Mobile container terminal, including the addition of a container ship berth and handling yard in Mobile, as well as replacement, refurbishment, and upgrades to existing piers; and intermodal and freight rail infrastructure improvements at Birmingham, including adding new track, switches, and related appurtenances to improve both freight and intermodal rail traffic flow, increase capacity, improve service reliability and establish container intermodal rail service between the Port of Mobile and Birmingham.”
Another $100 million is earmarked by Shelby for the replacement of Tuscaloosa’s Woolsey Finnell Bridge over the Black Warrior River on McFarland Boulevard. The new bridge will have six lanes along with acceleration and deceleration lanes.
“Throughout my career, I have done everything in my power to bring success to my home state,” Shelby said in a statement Thursday. “The funding for Alabama in this package is significant in terms of the impact it will have on communities and the overall state-wide economy for generations to come.”
In addition to Shelby, Alabama projects were earmarked by Reps. Robert Aderholt, Jerry Carl, Mike Rogers and Terri Sewell. Sen. Tommy Tuberville and Congressmen Mo Brooks, Barry Moore and Gary Palmer did not earmark projects for the spending bill, according to Open The Books. Tuberville voted against the omnibus bill because, he said in a statement, “Congress should be responsible enough to spend no more than we can afford, just as Americans do every day.”
In a post Thursday on Twitter, Brooks criticized Shelby — reiterating his belief that Shelby is most responsible for the country’s debt.
“Richard Shelby is more responsible for America’s $31 trillion debt that anyone in American history … and does it again,” Brooks’ post said. “The math: Shelby has burdened EACH American man, woman and child with $95,000 in federal debt obligations. USA bankruptcy coming.”
Altogether, 69 domestic-related projects across the state were earmarked by members of the Alabama delegation. Shelby was responsible for the most expensive projects, including:
There is also no less than $10.5 million for ongoing tornado research at the University of Alabama in Huntsville.
Among higher-profile projects, Carl lobbied for $3.5 million to upgrade the Spanish Fort Causeway across Mobile Bay. Still, Carl’s office said he intends to vote against the funding package as a whole.
The most expensive project beyond Shelby’s was $15 million secured by Sewell for a commercial vehicle inspection gate at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery.
Rogers’ top project was $10 million for the Model Regional Operations Center at Auburn University to “enhance the cyber security of the U.S. Electricity Sector Southeast Regional DOE Cyber Command Center.”
Aderholt’s top project was $3 million for the University of North Alabama’s community STEM facility design and construction.
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