Alabama Senate strips road projects from oil spill bill

FILE - In this April 21, 2010 file photo, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig burns in the Gulf of Mexico. In the year since the Gulf oil spill, officials along the coast have gone on a spending spree with BP money, dropping tens of millions of dollars on gadgets, vehicles and gear _ much of which had little to do with the cleanup, an Associated Press investigation shows. The oil giant opened its checkbook while the crisis was still unfolding last spring and poured hundreds of millions of dollars into Gulf Coast communities with few strings attached. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The Alabama Senate has stripped road projects from a bill preparing to spend the state’s oil spill settlement funds.

The bill is likely headed to a conference committee Tuesday evening where some lawmakers are expected to make a push to restore the road funds.

Lawmakers have been sharply divided over how to use the money meant to compensate the state for economic damages suffered during the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Senators on Tuesday voted 21-9 for a plan to steer $300 million to the state’s Medicaid program and $320 million to repay money borrowed during past budget shortfalls. The Senate-passed bill did away with $191 million for road projects that south Alabama lawmakers had wanted for the oil-battered coast.

The bill now moves to the Alabama House of Representatives where it is expected to be sent to a conference committee.

Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh urged senators to be open to compromise.

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