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Some Kentucky Road Projects Will Be Cut If Fund Isn't Stabilized, Transportation Cabinet Says

Kentucky state Capitol

If the Kentucky General Assembly does nothing about Kentucky’s dwindling road fund, the state will have to make tough choices about which highway projects to fund, according to the state agency that administers highway construction projects.

The fund has been shrinking as receipts from the state gas tax—which is pegged to the average wholesale gas prices in the state—have dropped off as a result of low gas prices.

State legislators say finding a fix to the funding problem is a high priority, but leaders in the state House and Senate have blamed each another for not coming up with a solution.

It’s unclear which specific projects would be cut, but in general projects that are still in the design phase might be halted.

“There will have to be picking and choosing, picking what to proceed with and what to lay aside until our funding is available,” said Chuck Wolfe, a spokesman for the state Transportation Cabinet.

Large projects that are completed in installments—such as the widening of Interstate 65 to six lanes—might have individual projects halted, he said.

“You have to make choices about where you apply the revenue you do have coming in and you may have to forego things,” Wolfe said.

Maintenance projects like mowing brush on the sides of highways might also be completed less frequently.

Representatives in the Democratic-led House are waiting for the Senate to propose a solution. Last year, Republican senators thwarted a House proposal to stabilize the gas tax and then accused Democrats of trying to raise taxes.

State senators say that the House needs to come up with the bill because budgetary matters traditionally start in that chamber.

There are only two more working days for legislators to come up with a solution—March 23 and March 24.

Ryland Barton is the Managing Editor for Collaboratives. Email Ryland at rbarton@lpm.org.