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Senate Committee Passes Road Plan Changes that Affects ORBP Funding

The Kentucky Senate is proposing a change in funding for the Ohio River Bridges Project.Governor Steve Beshear's road budget calls for $50 million in spending on new bridges and reconfigured highway interchanges in Louisville. Both the House and Beshear favor using a mix of bonds and federal highway maintenance funds to do so.Senate Transportation Chairman Ernie Harris says his chamber prefers to use bonds almost exclusively to fund the project.“Bridges are funded in Louisville. That project will continue to move forward. But we also have other needs. There’s 120 counties, there’s needs around the state, and we felt it was important to use interstate maintenance and additional highway money as widely as possible,” Harris says.Senator Tim Shaughnessy and Transportation Secretary Mike Hancock both say they're concerned about the change.The road plan cleared the Senate Transportation Committee easily and is expected to clear the full chamber. It will then go to a conference committee where lawmakers will negotiate compromises between it and the road plan that passed the House.