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State Capitol

Road Damage And Lack Of Resources Discussed By Legislative Budgetary Panel

Stu Johnson

Kentucky Transportation Secretary Jim Gray says he and similar leaders in other states anticipate a federal infrastructure package.  Gray made that remark while updating a state legislative panel on flood and ice related damage to roadways.  

The head of state transportation said the Commonwealth’s gas tax revenues fall short when it comes to meeting current needs. “Declining road revenues, the slide I just showed you, combined with increasing storm damage, puts a strain on our ability to execute routine road and maintenance plans,” said Gray. 

Some two weeks after flooding hit many communities hard, State Highway Engineer James Ballinger said 36 closures were still in place on Kentucky roadways.  Gray reminded the budget review committee any money coming from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for transportation will be a reimbursement and not up-front funding.    House Budget Review Subcommittee on Transportation Chair Sal Santoro said more state resources are needed.  “I guess our biggest problem is we can’t print money and we’re going to have to do something.  The only way we can do it is to make a reasonable and fair gasoline tax because that’s the only way we can get funding because our great fathers found out that we have the constitution and general fund has to stay general fund and transportation has to stay transportation,” explained Santoro. 

Secretary Gray said there is optimism among other state transportation leaders the federal government will come with a substantial transportation infrastructure package.  Gray says the question will be the availability of state funds to match those dollars.

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