As they prepare to vote on funding for road repairs, state lawmakers are asking questions about maintenance and new projects. State transportation department officials went before the House Budget Subcommittee on Transportation Monday.
It’s been a downright cold winter across many parts of Kentucky and it’s taken a toll on pavement. Much attention always focuses on the state’s six year road plan to prioritize new highway and bridge construction.
Still, South Shore Representative Tanya Pullin says road maintenance remains a priority. “Another part of winter, it’s been tough on our roads, so keeping that in mind this tough winter, how much more would it take to really maintain in good working order and good for the traveling public and people that travel through Kentucky, to maintain them,” said Pullin.
Transportation Cabinet Leaders say another $80 million a year is needed to restore roads to a desired level. Cabinet Secretary Mike Hancock says, where potholes are plentiful, crews will look to replace whole sections of roadway. “So, we’ll be looking at that and building all that into our maintenance program for the year and trying to make sure that those roads that have been hurt the most severely are those roads that get fixed the quickest,” said Hancock.
New construction was also a topic during the legislative meeting. Jessamine County Representative Bob Damron wanted assurances that funding for the eastern bypass project around Nicholasville wouldn’t be delayed. “I want to make sure that before I vote for any road plan that a commitment that’s been made from this governor and others, that that project’s gonna be completed. It gonna be done as has been promised,” said Damron.
Damron says more than $40 million in federal money is being spent on right-of-way acquisition. Hancock says that will take a couple of years to accomplish and it should be given priority funding in the next budget.