$4.7 billion highway: All cost, little benefit
The cost of the multi-billion dollar Northern Beltline highway to American and Alabama taxpayers far outweighs the potential for significant revenue and jobs from the project and are a fraction of what highway proponents have long claimed, according to a new economic analysis conducted by the Ochs Center for Metropolitan Studies.
The Ochs Center found that the proposed $4.7 billion beltline would create about 2,800 jobs per year over a 17-year construction phase, far from the 70,000 jobs touted by project boosters. The report also notes that most of the jobs would pay less than $35,000, and that there is no guarantee the jobs would go to Alabama residents. Any permanent jobs would not fully materialize until the project is complete, which the Alabama Department of Transportation recently estimated would not be for at least 35 years.
The report was prepared for the Southern Environmental Law Center on behalf of Black Warrior Riverkeeper.