Riley speaks to Black Belt economics

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 17, 2004

In a conference call Tuesday afternoon, Alabama Governor Bob Riley addressed some of the key issues affecting the state and the Black Belt.

In an effort to focus attention on his reform bills that keep dying in the legislature, Riley spoke about the financial situation Alabama faces.

Riley said he felt like the defeat of his tax bill last fall was a message from Alabama’s voters to clean up the financial mess in Montgomery.

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Riley said his office has submitted several accountability bills but most have died in committee.

Riley was also asked about issues that affect the Black Belt directly.

Senator Richard Shelby, who was in Selma Monday, stressed the importance of the I-85 project that would help link the Black Belt to Mississippi with an interstate and help attract industry to the area.

Riley agreed that the project is important but said the funding would have to come from a federal level.

In a related matter, Riley spoke about the efforts to help bring industry to the Black Belt and lower the region’s double-digit unemployment.

Riley said the state’s partnership with Mississippi could help achieve that goal.