Riley: We must address route for evacuation
By By MICHELE GERLACH Publisher
Alabama Gov. Bob Riley visited Escambia County for the second time in one week Friday, saying he was proud of the efforts of Alabamians to get back on their feet after Hurricane Ivan and promising to make an evacuation route from the Gulf Coast a top priority.
Riley said President George Bush has assured him that the federal government and its agencies "are going to be with you" until Alabamians can recover from Hurricane Ivan.
Riley said help is available from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, but local residents will have to do their part in accessing it.
When Riley paused for questions, East Brewton Mayor Terry Clark said he wanted the governor to understand that every time the Florida Panhandle is threatened by a storm, the evacuation traffic causes a small local disaster.
Riley said he, President Bush and Florida Gov. Jeb Bush have agreed on one thing.
Flomaton Mayor Kay Wagner took the opportunity to remind Riley that the state had previously planned to four-lane Hwy. 113 from Flomaton to I-65 to facilitate evacuation, and already owns the right-of-ways there.
Riley, who said he had no idea where Hwy. 113 was, called for an Alabama map to better understand the proposed route.
Riley held a prayer service at First Baptist Church in Atmore Friday before stopping in East Brewton's Town Hall to meet local officials.
Riley said as he awaited the approaching storm in the state EMA office in Clanton he prayed that lives would be spared and people wouldn't be hurt.