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Senate approves state road plan bills

Plan includes Mountain Parkway, Brent Spence Bridge, Louisville bridges, others

FRANKFORT, Ky. (March 27, 2014) — The Kentucky Senate approved two-year and six-year road plans Wednesday that would direct transportation projects across the state.

The current Brent Spence Bridge and the Cincinnati skyline.
The current Brent Spence Bridge and the Cincinnati skyline.

House Bill 237 was approved on a 28-0 vote, with 10 lawmakers passing.  As amended by the Senate, it would authorize $5.4 billion worth of road and bridge projects and improvements in the upcoming biennium.  Included in the plan is the Louisville bridges project, West Kentucky bridges project, Brent Spence Bridge project in Northern Kentucky, as well as work on I-65, I-69, the Mountain Parkway, and many others.

The Senate version of the bill cut or moved some projects to the six-year Road Plan to reduce “over programming” and eliminate the need for a motor fuels tax increase, according to Senate Transportation Chair Ernie Harris, R-Crestwood.

“The plan we are submitting today is balanced,” he said.

House Joint Resolution 62, which includes the last four years of the six-year road plan, was approved by a vote of 29-0.  Nine lawmakers passed on that vote.

Senate Democratic Floor Leader R.J. Palmer, D-Winchester, said he was casting a pass vote because he did not have time to review the entire bill and was disappointed at the exclusion of the Eastern Bypass project in his district.  “That gives me great concern.  So I cannot do anything other than pass at this time,” he said.

The House of Representatives did not agree with changes to the measures made in the Senate.  The Senate has appointed members to a conference committee to work with House members in ironing out differences in the proposals.

The measure that would fund the transportation projects in the two-year Road Plan, House Bill 236, was approved by the Senate Transportation Committee on Wednesday.  It will now go to the full Senate for further action.