House road plan, Transportation Cabinet budget clear budget committee

03/22/2016 02:35 PM

FRANKFORT — The House’s version of the state road funding plan cleared a panel Tuesday down partisan lines.

House Bill 304, House Bill 305 and House Joint Resolution 91 each passed with a 19-14 vote with Democrats voting in favor and Republicans opposing the plans totaling $4.58 billion.

Deputy Budget Director Jenny Anglin told committee members that the road fund includes 1,239 total projects in the plans.

“4.58 billion in road projects and bridge projects is provided,” Anglin said. “It includes $996 million in state funded projects including the state construction high priority projects. Some from the 2010 bond pool and previously authorized bonds.”

Anglin outlined major road construction projects including funds to begin design on the upgrade of the Hal Rogers Parkway from Somerset to Hazard; an interchange on I-65 in Bullitt County; funds to begin work to upgrade the Natcher Parkway to interstate standards between Owensboro and Bowling Green; preconstruction for a new I-69 bridge at Henderson; preconstruction work on the Heartland Parkway in Marion and Taylor counties; funding to widen I-75 in Rockcastle County and I-64/I-75 in Fayette County; and the expansion of the Mountain Parkway in eastern Kentucky.

“The Mountain Parkway includes $159 million in federal funds to continue the expansion of the Mountain Parkway which began in 2014 through the counties of Wolfe, Magoffin, Morgan, and Floyd,” Anglin said. “It also begins planning a route to extend the Mountain Parkway from Prestonsburg to Beckley, West Virginia.”

Rep. Bam Carney, R-Campbellsville, expressed disappointment that his district was shut out in receiving funding for road projects.

“The people that I represent feel like they have been left behind somewhat and that frustrates me a great deal,” Carney said. “When I look at $159 million in federal funds going to the Mountain Parkway, we’re talking about finishing to Beckley, W.Va. That’s an estimated $10 billion.

“It’s a disgrace. It’s embarrassing. The people all over Kentucky deserve better.”

Funding for the projects would be provided in House Bill 304, also sponsored by Rep. Rand. That bill would also provide funding for administration of the state Transportation Cabinet, state aviation projects, rail projects and other transportation needs across Kentucky.

State law requires the General Assembly to adopt the last four years of the six-year road plan as a joint resolution, which has the force of law but is not included in the statutes. That legislation was House Joint Resolution 91.

Both bills and the resolution now go to the House floor for consideration.

About Don Weber

Don Weber joined cn|2 when it launched back in May 2010 and soon became a reporter for Pure Politics. He is a graduate of Northern Kentucky University and has spent many years covering everything from politics to sports. Don says he loves meeting new people everyday as part of his job and also enjoys the fact that no two days are the same when he comes to work. Don Weber can be reached at donald.weber@charter.com.

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