WKU Public Radio News Staff
Wed July 2, 2014
Beshear: Kentucky Road Projects Delayed Because of Highway Trust Fund Stalemate
In less than a month, states across the U.S. could see a 28 percent cut in funding for highway projects. Congress hasn’t been able to pass a bill that would shore up the federal Highway Trust Fund.
Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear says the commonwealth has already put $185 million dollars’ worth of construction projects on hold because of the stalemate in Washington.
“Believe it or not, when it comes to absorbing the impact of this funding crisis, Kentucky is in better shape than most of the other states,” said Gov. Beshear. “We have been and will continue to use state-generated transportation funds to mitigate, as much as possible, short-term impacts in our federal program.”
But, Beshear says among the construction now on the shelf is a project that would widen Interstate 65 between Bowling Green and Elizabethtown. U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx joined Beshear at a press conference Wednesday in Frankfort, urging congress to act.
Foxx says the delays won’t just cause snarled traffic and an increase in bothersome potholes, but will prevent thousands of Kentuckians from going to work.
“Instead of meeting with Gov. Beshear to talk about how to build more road projects, more highway projects, more bridge projects in Kentucky – like the Ohio River Bridges that supported 4,000 construction and engineering jobs – we’re talking about how to do less,” said Foxx.
Foxx says Congress could offset declining gas-tax revenues by taxing American companies’ overseas profit. But Republicans have balked at that idea, calling it a tax hike.