Lots of talk surrounding Kentucky’s infrastructure remains up in the air.
Governor Andy Beshear stressed the importance of roadways and transportation in his most recent State of the Commonwealth address, but many groups are still not satisfied with the state’s current situation.
Gov. Beshear said COVID-19 has revealed broadband goes beyond business and extends into every facet of our lives from healthcare to education. Opportunities like telehealth will make jobs more of a reality in places like eastern Kentucky.
Another area in his budget for 2021 is the transportation sector. Gov. Beshear said investing in transportation will create jobs, stimulate the economy and encourage future growth.
Fees on alternative-fuel cars
On Feb. 11, a bill sponsored by Rep. Jim DuPlessis was filed that would increase annual fees for hybrid or electric car drivers to help boost the state’s road fund.
This bill would also remove the state’s longstanding connection between gas taxes and wholesale gas prices, and instead tie it to a national construction index.
Officials said House Bill 508 is primarily focused on preparing for more alternative-fuel cars on the roads. The fees placed on these drivers would be paid at the end of the year and is dependent on the weight of the vehicle. The bill also seeks to add surcharges to tractor-trailer and other oversized vehicle drivers.
Kentucky Chamber leads gas tax charge
House Bill 508 takes a different approach than reforms backed by the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, the Kentucky League of Cities and the Kentucky Association of Counties and others.
These groups have been fighting to increase the gas tax by at least 10 cents, which serves as the main source of funding for Kentucky’s infrastructure, and a change in the formula of funding specifying how these dollars are divvied up to the county and city governments.
The group points to heavily trafficked roads like Louisville’s River Road that could benefit from an increase in fees. This road floods often and could be widened and elevated to reduce much of the flooding.
Leaders at Greater Louisville, Inc. (GLI) stressed Kentucky’s importance as a logistics hub for the nation and the need for quality roads and infrastructure to connect people and places around the state.