The House budget committee has passed the first of this special session's 2 major bills on the call. The 25 to 2 vote sends the measure authorizing $4.5 billion in spending on road projects to the full House for a Wednesday vote.
A major concern, expressed early in the meeting by Louisville Rep. Jim Wayne and Covington's Arnold Simpson, is whether key bridges including the Brent Spence in northern Kentucky and the Sherman Minton at Louisville would start collecting tolls from drivers in the near future.
Transportation subcommittee chair Sannie Overly assured Simpson there is no such proposal for the Spence span. Transportation Secretary Mike Hancock offered similar assurances about potential tolls on the Minton bridge as far out as 19 years from now. The pending road funding bill includes no tolling for the coming 2 years.
Once passed by the House, the funding bill containing the same language as passed by the House last week returns to the Senate for consideration. President David Williams continues to pledge the financing will not be approved until Governor Beshear signs the separate road plan.