Slow Road Ahead: How state road projects are struggling to keep pace with the growing Northern Ky. region

07/31/2014 07:30 PM

For years Northern Kentucky lawmakers have said their region is being shortchanged in state transportation funding, but an analysis of the funding shows the dollars being dolled out have held fairly close to their population — the problem is that the region is growing faster than projects can be completed.

The population in Boone, Kenton and Campbell counties is bursting at the seams
and the already overrun highways are taxed with many more cars than they were designed for.

Even though there are already a number of road improvement projects in the works, there are still roads that need attention.

Pure Politics took a look at state road fund totals for the last 6 years and found Boone and Kenton counties are in 5th and 6th place for receiving the most funds. Boone got just over $238 million and Kenton just over $231.5 million. Campbell County has the 10th highest total with just over $188.5 million.

Still, many in Northern Kentucky believe the system is based on an outdated formula which doesn’t take into the account the population and economic growth of an area.

Bob Yeager, Transportation Engineering Branch Manager for The Kentucky Department of Highways District 6 Post, in Crescent Springs, says that one reason there is a perception that the area gets shortchanged in road funds is the fact that there’s more time and money spent before the road is actually constructed.

“I think the misnomer is transportation funding, like a lot of things, is kind of an ebb and flow,” said Yeager. “Just because you don’t see it, doesn’t mean it’s not there. A multimillion dollar project, an interchange project, for instance, that might be touted as being a $50 million project, only $25 million of that is in the actual construction. The rest of it is preparation.”

Rep. Sal Santoro, R-Florence, says there is another big difference in what’s going on with road projects in Northern Kentucky as compared with those in the rest of the state.

The area is growing rapidly and many there feel like the road projects are not keeping up with the growth. Santoro says even though his area is in the middle of several major state-funded projects there’s something that makes Northern Kentucky’s needs different.

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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