Highway 80 gets 11 million

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 9, 2005

UNIONTOWN-U.S. Representative Artur Davis appeared in Uniontown Monday to present a check to fund transforming Highway 80 into a four-lane highway.

The 11.2 million dollar check is part of the Federal Highway Appropriation Act and is the largest single federal appropriation ever received for an interior highway, but it counts for a fraction of the 85 million it will take to make the entire highway four lanes.

“This is not only an investment, it’s a down payment,” Davis said. “It’s an important investment for the families who live here and for the trucks and cars that pass through.”

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Davis said he is not just “talking bricks and mortar” but he is concerned for the safety and economic development of the Black Belt.

Phillip White, Uniontown mayor, said there are about 10 deaths on Highway 80 in a 4-5 year span.

White also told attendees there were talks of four laning Highway 80 before he was born and he is glad to have people in place who “do more than just talk.”

Councilman Eugene Booker said four lanes will improve transportation through Uniontown.

“It will cut back on accidents and bring better business revenue,” Booker said.

Selma mayor, James Perkins, said although Selma wasn’t a part of the Black Belt, the success of both regions is tied together.

Perkins said a city’s economy is dependent on exchange and “if you don’t have an interstate, you can’t have exchange.”

“We were four laning Highway 80 before we put a man on the moon,” he said. “It makes no sense to me why it isn’t done.”

Perkins told city officials to press to ensure completion of the project. He also told White that Uniontown has Selma’s support as long as he is mayor.

“This is a process,” Davis said. “We have to tell congress to keep adding to this investment. Let your voices be heard.”

Dee Rowe from the Alabama Department of Transportation said development plans are in the making and construction should begin in the next two or three years.

“It takes federal action, state action and local action to accomplish goals,” Davis said. “This is just the beginning of bringing Uniontown up to the walk of progress.”