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Top News Links: Friday, March 18

House committee approves 6-cent gas tax hike

An Alabama House committee Thursday approved a bill that would raise the state gas tax by about six cents a gallon, with the hopes of generating more money to fund road and bridge projects. The state’s gas tax, a combination of three different levies and a pump inspection fee, stands at 18 cents a gallon. The bill will add another excise tax, based on an average of the existing state taxes in Florida, Georgia, Mississippi and Tennessee. – Montgomery Advertiser

Hubbard trial delayed two weeks to April 11

Lee County Circuit Judge Jacob Walker Thursday pushed back the ethics trial of Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard for two weeks until mid-April. The trial is reset to April 11 as the defense appeals some of his pre-trial decisions to the Alabama Supreme Court. The ruling sets the date for the high-profile corruption case involving one of the state's most influential Republicans. – AP/Baytown Sun

New workforce training facility eyed in Mobile

A new $2 million to $4 million workforce training facility at the Mobile Aeroplex at Brookley south of downtown Mobile, is expected to boost job training in south Alabama. The new facility was announced Thursday during the Community Foundation of South Alabama's annual meeting in Mobile. – AL.com

Retail, office development planned off U.S. 280

A new retail and office development is under way near the U.S. 280 and Interstate 459 interchange. Shannon Waltchack will build a two-story, 22,000-square-foot mixed-use building at 3127 Blue Lake Drive after it secures one or two tenants. – AL.com

Trade magazine lauds Alabama development projects

A national trade publication selected three 2015 Alabama economic development projects, valued at a combined $2 billion, for its elite investment awards, reflecting the impact of the recruitment efforts. Editors at Trade & Industry Development magazine evaluated hundreds of projects before selecting the 30 winners of its 2016 Corporate Investment & Community Impact Awards. – Alabama News Center

Interior may recoup oil overpayments to state

The Department of Interior has authority to demand repayment of gas and oil revenues it overpaid to Alabama and Louisiana under an old and faulty revenue sharing scheme going back to 1986, a federal judge ruled. Louisiana and Alabama challenged federal rules for profit sharing of oil and gas revenue after the federal government changed its approach to profit allocation. – AllGov.com

Recaro Aircraft Seating to open office at Brookley Aeroplex

The Mobile Airport Authority and Recaro Aircraft Seating Company have signed an agreement for Recaro to open an office at the Brookley Aeroplex in Mobile. Recaro Aircraft Seating ranks among the world’s top aircraft seat manufacturers. – The Pulse

Home prices rising in 48 states including Alabama

Alabama joins much of the rest of the country in enjoying consistent home price appreciation. With the exception of Mississippi and Louisiana, U.S. states recorded positive year-over-year gains in home price appreciation, according to CoreLogic’s U.S. Home Price Insights Report through January 2016. – Alabama News Center

Birmingham plastics company dealing with fire aftermath

A fire Wednesday shut down thermoformer Reliable Formed Plastics LLC, but owner Rick Turman said that steps are being taken to get the Birmingham company up and running as quickly as possible. “We will get back as fast as we can,” Turman said in a phone interview. – Plastics News

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