The Importance – Kentucky’s Economy and Jobs
Transportation infrastructure brings Kentucky to the world and the world to Kentucky by connecting companies to the global marketplace and bringing visitors to our communities. More than $500 billion in freight flows through Kentucky annually, and transportation brings in tourists and visitors, who contribute almost $14.5 billion to our economy.
Companies such as auto manufacturers, UPS, Amazon and Braidy Industries want to operate in centrally located, accessible states.
That’s why highway accessibility is the second most important factor in site selection, trailing only the availability of skilled labor, according to Area Development Magazine’s 2015 survey of corporate executives.
Kentucky’s roads and highways have the fourth highest fatality rate – per miles driven – in the country. More than 3,500 people were killed in Kentucky traffic crashes from 2011 to 2015.
In addition, one in 12 of Kentucky’s locally or state-maintained bridges are rated structurally deficient due to significant deterioration and 70 are currently closed.
- A national decline in the average wholesale gas prices resulted in a $200 million recurring annual loss for Kentucky.
- Kentucky will also soon lose $110 million in credits that served as matching funds for federal dollars.
- In addition, more than $150 million is diverted from the road fund for other agencies each year.
- The Cabinet, through its new prioritization formula, SHIFT, identifies 70 projects of statewide significance that need $7.8 billion in funding. This is in addition to the list of 1,100 other regional projects identified as needed. Both the significant statewide and regional projects would have to compete for the current $2.6 billion in funds — leaving thousands of unmet needs across the state unless something long term and sustainable occurs.
We must invest more in infrastructure to attract and expand a 21st century economy and jobs. Funding solutions must be dynamic and meet the evolving needs of a changing economy.
The coalition supports long-term, sustainable funding that provides adequate revenues for all modes of transportation so our state can maintain the infrastructure we have today and build what we need for our future.
The time to act is now. Delays will drive up the costs and put us farther behind our competitor states, many of which have already increased their investments in infrastructure.