By Ed Green
Maintaining and improving Kentucky’s infrastructure is critical to the state’s success in attracting and keeping businesses, particularly given its central location. And public-private partnerships should be part of the solution to help keep Kentucky competitive, according to a report released Wednesday by the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce.
Its report, titled A Citizen’s Guide to Kentucky Infrastructure, highlights key facts about our roads, bridges, dams, airports, utilities, railroads, technology networks and other systems needed to support job-creating businesses. The report also highlights some of the investments that will be required to sustain and grow that important infrastructure.
These include significant investments for roads, bridges, schools, water systems, airports and technology.
“Kentucky must realize our global competitors are building infrastructure at an impressive rate,” said Kentucky Chamber President Dave Adkisson. “To take full advantage of the state’s favorable geographic location and improve the ability of Kentucky companies to compete, we must place a greater emphasis on our state’s infrastructure. Our focus must be a comprehensive approach including energy, water, sewer, broadband and transportation systems. The Chamber urges the state to utilize P3s and other innovative solutions in order to move Kentucky forward.”
Given the relatively high percentage of Kentucky’s gross domestic product already dedicated to infrastructure and the large amount of needed investment, the report offers public-private partnerships (P3s) as a potential solution to some of the issues.
“The data clearly indicates that Kentucky has pressing infrastructure needs, especially with respect to repair or replacement of structurally deficient bridges and expansion of broadband access and adoption,” the report said. “With declining revenues from motor fuel taxes and continuing pressure on the state budget from unfunded pension liabilities and increasing Medicaid costs, Kentucky must find new avenues to finance infrastructure construction.”
Kentucky passed HB 309 in 2016, which allows for P3s at both the state and local level for many types of projects, including transportation.
“Given the Commonwealth’s infrastructure needs, state government should embrace the opportunities presented by P3 legislation and aggressively solicit private partners who can assist in the financing, construction or operation of public infrastructure in Kentucky.”
To read the full report, click here.