Kentucky has awarded a $10 million dollar contract to a Missouri company to reconstruct the Breathitt-Pennyrile Parkway/Kentucky 56 interchange near Sebree. The upgrade, to be completed by Dumey Contracting, will help bring the parkway up to interstate highway standards as the state continues work on completing the I-69 corridor.
“This is another important step toward completion of I-69 in western Kentucky,” Gov. Steve Beshear said in a written statement. “An additional interstate route means additional opportunity for economic development in western Kentucky and, indeed, throughout the Commonwealth. And the improvements being made in the I-69 corridor will result in safer, more efficient travel through the region.”
Work is expected to be complete on the Kentucky 56 interchange by October, 2015. After that, Governor Steve Beshear’s office says, the only interchange left to upgrade on the Pennyrile will be at Morton’s Gap.
Fifty-five miles of highway in western Kentucky currently feature the I-69 shield.
Alltech is investing about $24 million in a new Eastern Kentucky facility to help shore up economic development in the area.
Touted by Gov. Steve Beshear and Kentucky Congressman Hal Rogers, the development will expand Alltech’s distillery operations on a 380-acre reclaimed surface mine, and will grow to include aquaculture fish farms and an egg laying operation.
Deirdre Lyons is director of corporate image for Alltech. She says Eastern Kentucky brings back memories of her native homeland.
Gov. Steve Beshear issued a pair of executive orders this week reducing state spending levels to plug a $90.9-million hole in Kentucky's budget.
The Office of the State Budget Director announced the shortfall last week, which is due largely to an unexpected $63-million decline in income related to capital gains.
Beshear's cuts cover the $90.9-million gap.
In a statement released Wednesday night, Beshear said the state was "somewhat limited" in its approach to filling the budget hole.
“But as in previous reductions, two goals guided our decisions—to take steps to make government as efficient and as lean as possible, and to protect as best we can the core services that offer help and hope to our people and represent important long-term investments in Kentucky’s future: education, health care and public safety," Beshear said in the released statement.
Disappointment from earlier this year has been turned inside-out for the Bowling Green-Warren County Regional Airport.
In late April, Governor Steve Beshear vetoed $750,000 dollars from this year’s budget that would have gone to help lure a commercial airline to Bowling Green for the first time in decades. But airport general manager Rob Barnett learned Thursday morning, Kentucky will be able to invest that $750,000 dollars in July 2015 in the second year of the biennium.
“We now have a total incentive package of two million dollars to offer airlines that might be interested in servicing Bowling Green, Kentucky,” said Barnett.
Barnett says a recent study showed over 700,000 airline tickets were purchased by residents in Warren and nine surrounding counties over the past year. He says he’ll continue dialogue with potential airline partners over the next year. Barnett says he never lost confidence that the airport would receive the state funding, even after the veto in the spring.
Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and a top executive of the world's largest retailer are in the speaker lineup for the upcoming National Urban League Conference in southwest Ohio.
The civil rights organization expects some 8,000 participants at the meeting in downtown Cincinnati. The theme of the July 23-26 conference is "One Nation Underemployed."
The group says Biden will give the plenary speech. Other speakers will include Paul, R-Kentucky; Kentucky Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear; civil rights activist and TV commentator Al Sharpton; and Bill Simon, president and CEO of the U.S. stores division of Wal-Mart Stores Inc.
Panel discussions will include progress and unfinished business 50 years after the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and celebrations of African-American culture and music.
The office of Gov. Steve Beshear announced Friday that the state is seeking a request for proposals from private companies to expand broadband Internet access to Eastern Kentucky.
In a press release, the governor’s office said it will ask for proposals from companies to expand Internet access as part of the SOAR initiative, which aims to revitalize communities in the state’s economically troubled coal regions.The initial phase of the project will place 3,000 miles of broadband cable over a period of two years.
The governor’s office states that nearly one-quarter of Kentuckians don’t have access to broadband Internet.
The project is estimated to cost about $70 million, with $30 million appropriated by the state legislature and the remainder paid for by public-private partnership.
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jack Conway is concerned about the influence that a conservative 501(c)(4) group could have on Kentucky’s fall elections and beyond.
Americans for Prosperity was founded in 2004, and was led by David Koch of the billionaire, right-wing Koch brothers fame. The group and its network of undisclosed donors spent $40 million in 2010 to wrest control of the U.S. House from Democrats.
And with the recent announcement that the group has hired a director for its Kentucky chapter, Attorney General Conway says he’s concerned that the network of “dark” campaign money will warp Kentucky politics.
“I don’t think we ought to let in Kentucky state politics happen what’s happened at the federal level," said Conway. " Because people raise money for Senate campaign or House campaigns, and all of a sudden the corporate interests come in in the end and outspend what the individuals raised, and they treat the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives like it’s members are just nothing more than pawns in a larger corporate game.”
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.
Gov. Steve Beshear addressed a national healthcare conference Tuesday in Washington, where he touted Kentucky’s success in implementing the Affordable Care Act.
Beshear told attendees at the State of Enrollment conference that while Kentuckians continue to hold a negative view of President Barack Obama and his health care law, people are big fans of the state’s health insurance exchange, Kynect.
“Another thing we did was carefully separate the politics of the Affordable Care Act from the health care impact of Kynect," said Beshear. "That was a very fine line to walk, and I’m still walking it.”
State Democrats have picked up on the messaging, frequently referring to the state’s implementation as “Beshearcare.”
More than 421,000 Kentuckians have enrolled through Kynect during its six-month opening signup period.
Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear says proposed federal regulations on carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants provide the state with some “flexibility” in meeting government targets.
The Environmental Protection Agency announced this month that the nation must reduce carbon emissions created by burning coal by 30 percent.
“I am glad that the EPA recognized that states need flexibility. We tried to make that point with them over and over again as they developed this rule,” said Beshear. “What I’m concerned about is they, I’m not sure they’ve given us as much flexibility as we need.”
An analysis by Bloomberg’s New Energy Finance research arm found that Kentucky could actually be able to increase its carbon emissions up to 4 percent under the EPA rules.
“We all want a clean environment, and I think we all share that goal. It’s a difference in balance and how we phase in those standards and how we can reach them, and at the same time keep coal jobs in the coal fields and keep manufacturing jobs in Kentucky,” said Beshear.