Both rural and urban areas have the same potholes with road funding, Transportation chief says

05/11/2012 02:54 PM

Rural lawmakers call for more road construction money to improve access and economic prospects in their areas. And urban legislators have said as recently as last week that their areas aren’t getting the return on their tax money for new roads and bridges.

Transportation Cabinet Secretary Mike Hancock said this week they’re both right.

“Truthfully, the needs far outweigh our available funds across the spectrum,” Hancock said (11:00 of the interview). “To the extent we focus one over the other, I think we run the risk of getting even further behind in both areas.”

In the interview, Hancock reacted to statements made by Democratic Rep. Mary Lou Marzian of Louisville (7:15 of the video) and Republican Rep. Alecia Webb Edgington of Fort Wright (8:50).

Both made similar points that their respective urban regions need to stop being “donor regions” and receive a larger share of gas tax money to pay for road construction. Here’s the interview:

Hancock also explained what happens next with construction of a new bridge over the Ohio River between Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky.

He said the initial proposal over six years included $90 million for design of a new bridge that would carry I-75 traffic between Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. (3:00)

“Our concern has historically been the total funding needed for the project, both for Kentucky and Ohio,” he said.

Hancock said the General Assembly’s approach was not to approve the $15 million-a-year until a funding plan for the total bridge cost is in place. (Hancock addresses what happens next at 4:30 of the interview.)

As for whether tolls are part of that funding, “the General Assembly probably will have a strong voice in that.” (6:00)

And Hancock talked about the Louisville bridges project, as the cabinet hopes to select a contractor by the middle of August (1:30).


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