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Potential tolls for Alabama highway project spark opposition

MOBILE, Ala. (AP) — City officials in Mobile say they're confident the state of Alabama will reduce toll amounts for the proposed Interstate 10 Mobile River Bridge and Bayway project.

The Alabama Department of Transportation is considering a $3 to $6 one-way toll to provide the money necessary to pay for the massive project.

The plan under consideration would grant a discount to frequent drivers, reported .

If there must be a toll, "our goal is to make it the lowest possible for citizens of Mobile," said George Talbot, a spokesman for Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson.

Talbot added that city officials are also committed to establishing at least one free route for local drivers.

Other local politicians have made similar statements in recent months. State lawmakers and local officials have said they support the bridge project but were hopeful the Alabama Department of Transportation would lower tolls on local users.

Opposition to any kind of tolls has risen on social media. The Block the Mobile Bayway Toll Facebook group has amassed more than 18,000 followers, and a large portion of them adamantly oppose tolls of any kind.

The project involves building a six-lane cable stay bridge above the Mobile River. It would be 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) long.

The bridge would be among the tallest in North America, and only 5 feet (1.5 meters) shorter than the 220-foot (67-meter) height of the Golden Gate Bridge in northern California.

The entire Bayway would also be replaced, rather than merely widened as originally projected. The new Bayway would be a 7.5-mile (12.1-kilometer), eight-lane span crossing Mobile Bay, elevated to a height that would be above a 100-year storm surge level.

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