Committee seeks answers on KentuckyWired

07/12/2018 03:17 PM

FRANKFORT- An overview of the embattled KentuckyWired program was the focus of a Program Review and Investigations Committee Thursday.

The Kentucky Communications Network Authority was in the hot seat as they told committee members why the project is taking so long to achieve, and what roadblocks they have run into.

Executive Director Phillip Brown says the problems with KentuckyWired began before it even began—with the contract reached with former Gov. Steve Beshear’s administration.

“It begins with the fateful decision to allow the commonwealth’s desired price for the project to drive agreement for a schedule on a 3,000 mile construction project that assumed everything would go right.” he said.

The program has been running since 2015 but so far only 800 miles of fiber have been laid throughout the commonwealth, and $240,084,00 has been spent. Many lawmakers wanted to know why the cost has been so high for such little return. KCNA says it’s due to the problems that have occurred through the process.

“There have been 45 different types of supervening events. A supervening event may be something that creates an immediate cost, something that delays the project, can be determined a compensation event if some sort of payment is due or a relief event. Where we owe our contractors one day of extra time before they have to start paying late charges because of delay they encountered in an even that is our responsibility, “ said Brown.“This is where Kentucky assumed most, or just about all, the risks in the project and construction schedule.”

One of those problems includes an $88 million settlement reached with contractors to avoid litigation over outstanding claims.

“We did ask you for borrowing authority in the past general session to help us fund this settlement, because it’s not quite done I don’t think it’s prudent to discuss the range, but I can tell you we negotiated this price, one side started higher one side started lower,” said Brown. “In the settlement removes the risk of litigation for 207 for total of 228 supervening events.”

Sen. Reggie Thomas, D-Lexington, acknowledged the importance of the project, but wanted to know what the final cost would be.

“It’s going to cost more money to complete the project. The $365 million that you proposed that’s going to finance is not going to be enough to complete all 3,200 miles of the project,” he said. “So my question to you is quite simple, how much more money is it going to take for the state to complete the project.”

KCNA says they don’t have those numbers available since they are unable to predict future delays in the project.

“We are unable to minimize risks of future supervening events all them represent a risk to the schedule and therefore they represent a risk that there will be a delay and a cost,” said Brown.

While the project was scheduled to be completed this year, it will likely run through 2019.

Michon Lindstrom

Michon is a producer for Pure Politics. Michon comes to Kentucky from Springfield, Illinois where she served as the statehouse reporter for the NBC affiliate. During her time in the Land of Lincoln she covered the state’s two year budget impasse and the largest school funding overall in Illinois history. Pure Politics airs weeknights at 7 and 11:30 on Spectrum News. Follow Michon on Twitter at @MichonLindstrom or reach her by email at michon.lindstrom@charter.com

0 Comments

What do you have to say?





SUBSCRIBE NOW

Subscribe to email updates.

Subscribe and get the latest political intelligence delivered to your inbox.

TWEETS ABOUT KY POLITICS