The time has come for Governor Kay Ivey to get directly involved in finding another way to fund the Mobile River Bridge, besides a toll.
That's the word from a top federal leader in our area following a congressional town meeting Friday.
Congressman Bradley Byrne held a town hall meeting in Prichard, and bridge tolls turned out to be the big topic.
Byrne said he met with the Governor's Chief of Staff, Jo Bonner, last week to talk about the opposition to tolls, but that the time has come for the Governor to get directly involved.
And he thinks there will be meetings.
Byrne said, "We need to stop. Let's pull back, ask a couple of questions: how did this project go from being $800 million project to a two point something billion dollars. How did it get that far? Are there things that we can do by working with the people who are going to build this bridge to reduce the cost further? What are the federal sources of money that we can access?"
A group that apparently has the final word in approving tolls is a state group called, "Alabama Toll Road Bridge and Tunnel Authority."
It has nine members, including the governor.
Byrne says the governor should call a meeting of this group.
So does State Auditor Jim Zeigler, who was also at the town hall meeting.
He said, next week, members of the Facebook group "Block the Mobile Bayway Toll" are going to start contacting members of the Authority to meet with them.
Zeigler said, "It simply does not meet. We want to ask for a meeting of the toll authority and ask them to pause the I-10 toll plan and look at other options for funding."