KENTUCKY TRANSPORTATION CABINET UNVEILS STATE’S “ROAD MAP FOR THE FUTURE”
FRANKFORT,KY (February 15, 2006) - The new recommended six-year highway plan for Kentucky was unveiled before the Senate Transportation Committee today. The state’s “road map for the future”, for FY 2007-FY 2012, focuses on building, maintaining and improving Kentucky’s highway network in a manner that paves the way for smoother, safer roads, leading to economic opportunities for all Kentuckians.
“I asked that the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet be mindful of highway safety, reliability, congestion and economic benefits when reviewing projects to include in the plan,” said Governor Ernie Fletcher. “There are many variables to consider and obstacles to account for when compiling a plan such as this. I am pleased with these recommendations.”
“The plan is based upon input from local communities and highway districts, and for the first time, from the Economic Development and Commerce Cabinets,” said Transportation Cabinet Secretary Bill Nighbert. “We recognize that the needs across the state outweigh our ability to fully fund them, but we have worked hard to set priorities that will respond to the objectives set forth by Governor Fletcher.”
The Six Year Plan includes $4.8 billion in federally funded highway programs and $3 billion in state funded programs. The level of federally funded programs matches the revenues anticipated for Kentucky based upon the recently enacted SAFETEA-LU transportation legislation.
The plan continues a commitment by Governor Fletcher to better maintain the safety and reliability of Kentucky’s existing 27,000 mile state highways. It includes over $948 million in pavement repair and bridge replacement projects. Combined with the emphasis on maintaining our existing highway system, the plan also invests in a responsible level of highway system expansion to meet the most urgent mobility and economic development needs of motorists throughout the state.
“I’m pleased that this administration has presented a plan which emphasizes safety and economic development,” said Transportation Committee Chairman Brett Guthrie (R-Bowling Green).
Senate Minority Floor Leader, Ed Worley (D-Richmond), complimented the Transportation Cabinet’s vision behind the development of the current Six Year Road Plan. “I think your concept of building roads for jobs is a very wise investment of state money,” Sen. Worley said.
Senator Damon Thayer (R-Georgetown) congratulated the Cabinet on its success in working with individual legislators on such a challenging and complicated plan. “You’re used to hearing 138 of us saying ‘What about my project? What about this? What about that?’ I want to compliment Secretary Nighbert and all the folks in the Transportation Cabinet for a terrific job in putting together a plan like this.” said Sen. Thayer. “Economic development is at the forefront in this plan,” Sen. Thayer added.
“I want to congratulate the Transportation Cabinet for the direction they’ve taken with this plan,” said Sen. Dick Roeding (R-Lakeside Park). “The roads for jobs concept is vital for this Commonwealth.”
The level of state funded programs continues to exceed available revenues by more than $1.3 billion dollars. The state funded portion of the Six-Year Plan has exceeded available revenue since the enactment of the 2000 Six-Year Highway Plan.
Contributing to the challenge of addressing Kentucky’s highway needs are the rising costs to build and maintain new highways. A project that required $1 million to complete in 1987, now requires over $1.6 million. Today, reconstructing a basic two-lane highway in Eastern Kentucky can require upwards of $15 million per mile.
“The needs for transportation improvements continue to far exceed the resources available to meet those needs,” stated Marc Williams, Commissioner of Highways. “Our challenge is to continue to work as efficiently as possible to deliver as many projects from this plan as we possibly can. Our transportation system must measure up to the requirements of a vibrant and growing economy which this administration envisions for the Commonwealth.”
As required by Kentucky Revised Statutes, Chapter 176, this plan serves as a supplement to the Executive Branch Biennial Budget. The plan is the vehicle through which major highway improvement projects scheduled for the upcoming biennium are submitted to the state General Assembly for approval. It outlines the intent of the KYTC to pursue a specific list of projects over the coming years, subject to available funding.