Congressional inaction threatening the solvency of the Federal Highway Trust Fund may cost Kentucky $185 million for projects, drastically changing how the state pays for road construction, Gov. Steve Beshear said Wednesday.
Beshear and U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, who was visiting the state, criticized Congress for inaction that will reduce the amount the highway trust fund reimburses states for roadwork by 28 percent, affecting upwards of 700,000 jobs nationwide.
"Simply put, if you drive on Kentucky's highways, or if your business depends upon our roads to move your workers, your goods, your supplies or your customers, you will see a negative impact," Beshear said.
Of the $185 million in jeopardy, $150 million will affect the widening of I-65 between Bowling Green and Elizabethtown, a Kentucky Transportation Cabinet spokesman said. The remaining $35 million is slated for "pavement rehabilitation" projects across the state.
Neither Beshear nor KYTC Secretary Mike Hancock offered a figure of how many road contracting jobs in Kentucky could be affected if Congress doesn't shore up the fund.
A stable of Kentucky lawmakers are learning how natural gas can be developed to meet the state’s transportation needs.
Industry experts briefed members of the committees on energy and natural resources at the Owensboro convention center Thursday on the viability of natural gas filling stations, which are currently limited across the state.
“It’s an important issue for Kentucky," said Republican Sen. Jared Carpenter, a co-chair of both committees. "Gas has become a major player, in providing energy sources for Kentucky, and that's why we wanted to come to Owensboro."
"One of our members, this is his home community, and they've got a beautiful facility, and they just worked hand-in-hand so we could hear a presentation from the gas association and learn more about what they're doing."
Natural gas is expected to comprise a larger share of the state’s energy sources in the future.
A report released by a state commission says Tennessee needs $38 billion between now and 2015 to improve public infrastructure. Released by the Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations, the report shows what type of improvements are needed, from repairing roads and bridges to adding additional water lines and sewers.