ASCE Grades Alabama's Infrastructure, Gulf State Hotel Project On Track

Nov 30, 2015

The Alabama state report card on its infrastructure will be released in December by the American Society of Civil Engineering. APR student reporter Taylor Swinney has more.

The United States as a whole has not graded well over the years, coming in with an overall D+ in the American Society of Civil Engineering's last report in 2013.

Andrew Herrmann is the former President of ASCE. He says Alabama citizens pay more a year to drive on roads and bridges that are not in good condition.

“Alabama motorists pay an extra $321 per year from driving on roads in need of repair. So, that’s additional repairs and operating cost. So your motorists are already paying for the bad road conditions. Imagine if you put some of that money towards fixing it. You could cut down on congestion; you could cut down on wasting fuel.”

Of the nearly 102,000 public roads in Alabama, 6% are considered to be in poor condition.

Alabama is moving forward with plans to use oil spill settlement funds to build a 350-room hotel and conference center at Gulf State Park.

Gov. Robert Bentley said he hopes the beachfront facility will open by 2018. It’s intended to handle meetings of up to 1500 people.

Bentley says many beachfront conferences are currently held in Florida because there is not a convention center large enough on Alabama’s coast.

The Gulf Restoration Network, a New Orleans-based environmental group, has filed a lawsuit to block the project, arguing that it is an inappropriate use of funds meant to restore the oil-stained coast.

The state argues the project will make up for lost recreation during the spill and will be an ecologically sensitive development.

The $135 million project also includes dune restoration and bicycle trails.

The Alabama Crimson Tide clinched the SEC West this weekend by beating Auburn 29-13 in a game that stayed tight until the fourth quarter.

Derrick Henry strengthened his Heisman bid with his fourth 200 yard game against a SEC team. But the real star of the show was Alabama kicker Adam Griffith, who set an Iron Bowl record with five made field goals. Griffith is the same kicker behind the infamous "Kick 6" game two years when Auburn beat the Tide with a last-second missed field goal return for touchdown.

Head coach Nick Saban says now that's history.

“I’m really proud of him for hanging in there and gaining his confidence back, and doing the things this team needs him to do, and he’s done a fantastic job, especially these last three or four games.”

The Auburn Tigers had their moments Saturday as well, including wide receiver Jason Smith’s third quarter touchdown reception after tipping the ball to himself. The Crimson Tide faces the Florida Gators in the SEC Championship this Saturday.