FRANKFORT, Ky. — The first budget bill has been filed.
House Bill 354 contains the 2020-2022 biennial highway construction plan.
The plan filed by Reps. Steven Rudy, R-Paducah and Sal Santoro, R-Florence, is based on the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet’s $6.1 billion six-year recommended highway plan.
The plan uses a mix of state and federal dollars to fund recommended projects. As promised in Governor Andy Beshear's budget address the plan includes funding to complete the I-69 Bridge in Henderson County and the widening of the Mountain Parkway in Eastern Kentucky.
HB 354 includes $77 million of the estimated $267 million it will take to develop the project and begin construction connecting the Henderson Bypass to US 60.
Construction on the bridge is estimated to begin construction in late 2022. The total project is estimated to cost $1.37 billion with Kentucky’s share being $914 million. KYTC says they will be working with the Indiana Department of Transportation to come up with a financial plan for the remainder of the project to connect US 60 North to I-69 in Evansville, Indiana. This includes $1.1 billion for the Ohio River Bridge that’s likely to be funded through a combination of tolls, federal grants, and state monies.
The bill also includes $71.64 million to widen the Mountain Parkway from Campton to KY 205.
The highway plan does not include any funding to repair the Brent Spence Bridge in Northern Kentucky, but it does include a total of $30 million over two years to paint the bridge.
The plan also includes a $23 million increase in state funding to boost the federal Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) funding to $100 million over two years.
The program uses existing safety data to identify projects to make Kentucky’s roads safer.
Five school districts will receive $10.7 million to build new turn lanes to improve access and ease congestion at schools in Warren, Bullitt, Trimble, Carter and Floyd Counties.
$8 million is being allocated to take up 400 guardrail projects to address 3,400 miles of guardrail improvements.
“Kentucky has one of the nation’s highest highway fatality rates and these highway and guardrail investments will go a long way toward making our roads safer across the Commonwealth,” said KYTC Secretary Jim Gray in a release.
$80 million is being allocated annually in the plan to repair and replace Kentucky’s bridges. The ASCE 2019 Infrastructure Report Card on Kentucky’s infrastructure system gave the commonwealth’s bridges a C- citing 2,857 bridges in need of repairs.
The bill has been assigned to the House Appropriations & Revenue Committee.