This past Monday was tough. Not only was it the last day of the legislative session prior to the Veto period – it was also the day we learned that, while there would be some sort of tax reform bill, it would not contain language to modernize how we fund Kentucky’s infrastructure.
We were out – not in – and there was no way to change that.
The budget bill was printed. The tax reform bill was printed. The 2-year road plan was passed along with the 4-year resolution.
Several other bills were passed but one of the most important issues facing our state was not addressed.
Earlier this week a member called to talk about this and reminded me that having a bill filed and heard was farther than we’d ever gotten.
Kentucky’s infrastructure is essential for all of us everyday. It provides a safe route for our kids to get to school (school transportation funding was addressed). It provides a reliable, dependable way to move Kentucky products (and now you can ship bourbon directly from the distillery to your home by mail), and having all this access improves everyone’s quality of life.
But without adequate funding – something we don’t have today – all the infrastructure we’ve built is at risk.
An additional $490 million per year is needed for maintenance and construction of Kentucky’s roads and bridges. $10 million per year is needed to make safety improvements at Kentucky’s general aviation airports. $10 million per year is needed to continue providing transit services to Kentuckians who do not have access to private transportation. $5 million per year is needed to make improvements at our public riverports and more than $5 million per year is needed to make safety improvements at rail crossings throughout the state.
Those are big numbers. And if nothing is done – those numbers will increase exponentially every year.
We have two days left during this Legislative session. That is not much time, but we cannot give up until the session is over.
Please do not let this week pass without reaching out to your Legislators!
Call, email, visit them at their home or office this week and ask them to address transportation funding during this session.