House Working Group looks for ways to better fund the state's transportation infrastructure

07/13/2017 02:07 PM

FRANKFORT – How to improve funding for Kentucky’s transportation needs was the subject of the first House Working Group on Kentucky’s Transportation Infrastructure meeting on Thursday.

Co-Chair Rep. Sal Santoro, R-Florence, sees his group looking at a number of issues and factors related to covering the state’s transportation needs.

“Number one, is there enough funding to take care of our transportation needs,” Santoro said. “I see that a lot of our funding out of the road fund is going to the general fund to fund different organizations, maybe it’s time to look at that. We need to take care of the roads, and the waterways, the airports, the railways. We need to move our people and our commerce, and we need to do it in a safe manner.”

Kentuckians for Better Transportation Executive Director Juva Barber outlined to the group of legislators the current needs that the commonwealth is facing in the area of transportation infrastructure, including maintenance on the state’s bridges.

“We know that we have over 1200 bridges that are currently structurally deficient,” Barber said. “We know that we have 70 closed bridges in the state of Kentucky today. Last year, we closed 18 bridges, this year we’ve closed 20.”

In an effort to educate the public about the state’s transportation needs, Kentuckians for Better Transportation has established a Kentucky coalition to address the significant need to maintain and build the multi-modal transportation network that will allow the state to continue growing in the future.

“What we are doing with this coalition is educating the public on how important infrastructure is to them for their education, for their employment, for the economic growth of this state,” Barber said. “It is a very diverse coalition, it’s the Chamber of Commerce, it is the local elected officials, it’s the automotive industry.”

Santoro says that the working group will meet at various locations across the state through the end of the year before coming up with transportation-related budget recommendations for the 2018 session.


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