Top Headlines: Ivey unveils gas tax plan, Mobile’s Innovation PortAL breaks ground

Ivey unveils plan to hike gas tax 10 cents over 3 years
Gov. Kay Ivey and other officials announced a plan to increase funding for roads, bridges and other state infrastructure by raising the state’s gasoline tax 10 cents per gallon over three years. The state gasoline tax, which is 18 cents per gallon, would increase by 6 cents this year, 2 cents in 2020 and 2 cents in 2021. The plan also links the tax to a national index on highway construction costs. That could increase the tax no more than 1 cent every two years, Ivey said. –

BCA lends support to governor’s infrastructure plan
The Business Council of Alabama has commended Gov. Kay Ivey for her Rebuild Alabama Infrastructure Plan, saying the state’s transportation system is the backbone its economy. “Alabama’s current infrastructure challenges create a serious safety concern for all those who travel our roadways while also hindering job creation and eroding our businesses’ bottom lines,” said Katie Boyd Britt, president and CEO of the BCA. – Alabama Political Reporter

Mobile’s Innovation PortAL breaks ground for new home
After years of planning, Mobile’s Innovation PortAL entrepreneurial center held a groundbreaking Wednesday for the permanent home it will occupy on Mobile’s fast-developing St. Louis Street corridor. Hayley Van Antwerp, executive director of Innovation PortAL, said the project to renovate about 30,000 square feet of former industrial space at 358 St. Louis St. will take about a year. –

Hyundai pledges $40 billion over 5 years for innovation
Hyundai plans to invest about $40 billion over the next five years to develop new technologies for electric and autonomous, or self-driving, vehicles, Bloomberg is reporting. The average annual spending will be 58 percent more than over the past five years, the company said today in a statement. –

More revealed on Daimler-BMW ride-sharing plans
Daimler’s new venture with historic competitor BMW is the two automakers taking a swing into the kind of app-based tech space occupied by players like Uber and Lyft, but also the playing field of old stalwarts like Hertz. Yet the two automakers say your data is as safe in their hands as drivers are in their products. –

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Sentencing today for Round House scam figure
A man who pleaded guilty to scamming an Alabama town for nearly $2 million is due in federal court to find out how long he will go to prison. A judge scheduled sentencing for 43-year-old Kyle Sandler for Thursday morning in Montgomery. Sandler moved to the east Alabama town of Opelika in 2011 and later opened a business incubator called the Round House. He pleaded guilty last year to fraud for taking about $1.9 million from more than 50 investors. – WTOK

Kia’s electric concept car sports an amazing 21 screens
Kia’s new all-electric concept car, which will debut at the Geneva International Motor Show, finally addresses the issue so many of us have complained about for years: why are there no cars that have more screens than we have fingers and toes? Kia’s new as-yet-unnamed concept solves this problem (barely) and hints at some interesting evolutions of Kia’s design language. – Jalopnik

Electric pickups disguised as F-150s in order to test powertrain
In order to bring its own electric pickup trucks to market, Rivian has installed its electric powertrain inside several undercover F-150 electric pickup trucks driving around as test mules in its development program. In an interview with Detroit Free Press, Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe said that they have no connection with Ford and just use the F-150 because the wheelbase is the right size for their truck. – Electrek

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