Local leaders to quiz Shelby about highway projects

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 5, 2006

One week from today, U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby will make a stop in Marengo County as part of his yearly statewide Town Hall Meetings tour.

The meeting is set for 10 a.m., Jan. 12 at Tina’s Caf/ at 321 N. Main St. in Linden.

During the meeting, Marengo County Commission Chairman Freddie Armstead said he hopes to discuss an issue that is very important to the county now and in the future.

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“One of the main things we want to talk to him about is the Interstate 85 expansion,” Armstead said. “We want to see that come as close to Demopolis as possible for the future growth of the area. Hopefully, with his influence, he can make that happen.”

The expansion of U.S. Highway 80 was another topic Armstead said he would like to discuss.

“Basically, those are the most important things we want to talk about,” Armstead said. “The expansion of U.S. 80 and the I-85 project are all really important. Other than that, I think he is doing a really good job.”

Shelby has been committed to seeing the Interstate expansion project become a reality. In November, he announced the passing of legislation, which included $20 million to bring critical funding for planning, engineering, design and construction of the East-West Highway corridor stretching from Montgomery to Cuba. The extension, Shelby said, will bring significant economic development and new opportunities to the region.

Demopolis Mayor Cecil P. Williamson said she is eager to see Shelby come to town.

“I am very excited about Sen. Shelby’s visit,” Williamson said. “I think it is always exciting when one of our representatives comes to visit.”

The meeting, Williamson said, was a great way to bring together leaders and the people they represent.

“I think this is a great effort on his part to meet with the people he represents,” Williamson said. “This is also a great opportunity for citizens to meet and speak to their representatives.”

Shelby agreed. He said in the past, town hall meetings have proven very beneficial.

“Over the years, these meetings have provided an excellent opportunity for area residents to listen and voice their opinions on the activities of our government,” Shelby said. “This will be a great chance to discuss the important issues facing our state and our nation as the 109th Congress reconvenes.”

Shelby said he plans to discuss his legislative agenda for the 109th Congress as well as important issues facing the nation and the state of Alabama. Following his remarks, Sen. Shelby will open the floor to questions and comments from those in attendance.

Shelby has held nearly 1,300 county visits since being elected to serve the state of Alabama. Shelby holds a meeting in each county once a year.

The meeting is open to the public and citizens are encouraged to attend.