By Jacqueline Pitts, The Bottom Line
The House Appropriations and Revenue Committee on Tuesday heard testimony on legislation that would generate the funds needed to support the state’s infrastructure needs.
House Bill 609 and the committee substitute, sponsored by Rep. Sal Santoro and Rep. John Sims, would generate an extra $392 million in the first year and $433 million in the second year to meet some of the state’s needs.
The bill would modernize the formula for this funding which would include a 10-cent increase in the gas tax and a fee for electric car owners collected when they register the vehicle. Watch an interview with state Rep. Santoro on the bill and other infrastructure needs here.
In a letter to all legislators sent on Tuesday, the Kentucky Chamber expressed its support for House Bill 609 and urged legislators to act on the bill in the 2018 session.
Kentucky Chamber President and CEO Dave Adkisson said in the letter that Kentucky faces a $1 billion backlog of maintenance and paving, and the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet has identified $490 million in need to address statewide and regionally significant projects.
Adkisson also noted the need to invest in the state’s infrastructure assets as Kentucky is a state heavily dependent on manufacturing and logistics.
“As Kentucky struggles with finding the funds to make improvements and invest in new projects, surrounding states including Indiana and Tennessee have taken proactive steps to ensure their infrastructure resources keep up with the economic development investment they are experiencing,” Adkisson said. “Increasing the gas tax and current fees and creating new fees would generate significant economic impact as Kentucky improves its infrastructure for current and future businesses.”
In concluding the letter, Adkisson said infrastructure needs must be met in order for Kentucky to reach its full potential and encouraged legislators to vote yes on House Bill 609. Read the full letter here.