Kentucky Chamber Urges Focus on Infrastructure in 2018
By Ed Green
P3 Kentucky Editor
For many Americans, the holiday season is spent traveling roadways to see relatives or to take advantage of time off work and school to visit destinations across America. AAA projected that 50.9 million Americans journeyed 50 miles or more during the Thanksgiving break.
Unfortunately, many travelers found crowded highways and streets as they drove hundreds of miles on aging roadways and across deteriorating bridges. For those watching closely, holiday travel draws attention to a major problem in America. How are we going to address our aging infrastructure so those quick holiday getaways are possible in coming years?
Roads are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of infrastructure needs. As we’ve reported, this year’s American Society of Civil Engineers Infrastructure Report Card gave our nation’s system a D+ grade overall. In Kentucky, we’ve identified billions of dollars in needs to improve roadways, bridges, drinking and wastewater systems, schools, public buildings and local broadband networks needed to help us compete with other cities and states across the country.
Wisely, the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce included investing in 21st Century Infrastructure as one of the pillars of the 2018 legislative agenda it released this week. The pillar is built on these principles:
- Develop and maintain infrastructure;
- Maintain transportation investments;
- Expand wireless and broadband infrastructure;
- Ensure affordable energy resources;
- Support cost-effective energy strategies;
- Ensure affordable water and wastewater services.
“Kentucky must realize our global competitors are building infrastructure at an impressive rate,” the Chamber said in the agenda. “To take full advantage of Kentucky’s favorable geographic location — we are within 600 miles of 65 percent of the nation’s population – and improve the ability of Kentucky companies to compete, we must place a greater emphasis on building and maintaining our state’s infrastructure. Our focus must include energy, water, sewer, broadband and transportation systems.”
P3 Kentucky supports the chamber’s efforts to address the state’s infrastructure dilemma. As we near the New Year, this is the time to consider options available to finance and improve our infrastructure. Public-private partnerships are not the answer for every project, but they are now a tool available to communities and agencies that could benefit from including the private sector in public projects.
As we’ve said from the start, our primary goal for P3 Kentucky is to share information with leaders who can build Kentucky’s future. For our families, children and grandchildren.
To read the entire Kentucky Chamber legislative agenda, click here.