FRANKFORT, Ky. (Jan. 27, 2016) –Against the backdrop of depleted Road Fund revenues and the need to extend the life-cycle of aging infrastructure, Governor Matt Bevin on Wednesday submitted his 2016-2022 Recommended Highway Plan to members of the General Assembly.
“This plan provides a common sense approach to prioritizing our infrastructure needs over the next few years,” said Gov. Bevin. “We must be accountable to our citizens by investing in transportation projects that promote safety and economic opportunity.”
The Plan, if enacted, includes $6 billion in state and federal funds to address the critical transportation needs across the state. This budget cycle, however, lawmakers will have nearly $1 billion less to work with over the next six years. Due in part to declining gas prices, less money from a reduction in Road Fund receipts will be available to lawmakers to spend on projects.
During the State of the Commonwealth address on Tuesday, Gov. Bevin reaffirmed his commitment to providing a safe and reliable transportation network by shoring up funds to fix Kentucky’s aging infrastructure—with an emphasis on bridge preservation.
Bevin noted that for some time now, our bridges have been ignored, and that the issue must be addressed. In the Recommended Plan, Bevin calls for no less than 15% of available state highway dollars to be allocated to the preservation and maintenance of these structures.
Statewide, the Cabinet is responsible for over 14,000 bridges, some of which are considered structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. These bridges are safe for traffic, but require extra maintenance funding, weight limits and other restrictions to maintain safe travel.
Other highlights from the governor’s Recommended Highway Plan include:
• Upgrade the William H. Natcher Parkway to interstate standards in order to establish the “I-565” Spur Route between Bowling Green and Owensboro
• Widening of I-75 to six lanes in Rockcastle County
• Maintenance and upkeep of the Brent Spence Bridge while a regional mobility study is performed
• Expand U.S.641 to four lanes from Murray to the Tennessee state line
• Widen U.S. 421/KY 80 to four lanes in Clay County
The 2016 Recommended Plan also honors prior plan commitments including the Louisville Bridges project, the Mountain Parkway expansion project and improvements along the I-69 corridor in western Kentucky.
The Governor’s plan is online at http://transportation.ky.gov/Program-Management/Pages/2016-Recommended-Highway-Plan.aspx.