Project is now
Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 31, 2004
Thank you for Jonathan McElvy’s open candor about the expectations of the BBAC. I think you are right, this is not a decade-long project. One reason is succeeding administrations at the state level do not adopt the prior administration’s projects. The Commerce Commission is a good example. I think the BBAC has about two years to accomplish the goals, whatever they are.
The West Alabama Regional Commission has twenty eight professional staff members who are available to help Greene, Hale and Pickens counties. Ipledge our full support in whatever capacity the BBAC has use of our expertise. As a start I will be meeting with Margaret Bentley, chairman of the infrastructure committee, in early September.
[There is also] good information in the Commerce Commission report.
You may also want to take a look at ADECA’s annual report, especially the map that shows where Community Development Block Funds (grants) were given last year. These funds are for low/moderate income areas. You will see the Black Belt did not fare too well. Ask why. The BBAC may also want to ask our folks at the federal level why the Delta Regional Authority is not being funded at the authorized level. All the BBAC counties are in the Delta Regional Authority.
Finally, the Governor has the power to jump start this “action”. He can instruct the ALDOT to give priority to Highway 80. He can instruct Don Williamson to budget for Peri-natal services, programs to address teen pregnancy, and other rural health services in the Black Belt.
In the scoring system used to award Community Development Block Fund grants, he can ask ADECA not to penalize towns and counties in the Black Belt for not having matching funds. Well I have rambled on long enough and my fustration with the system is showing.
Good luck and best wishes with the BBAC.