The state House of Representatives has passed a road plan that would pump more than $76 million into Daviess County road projects.
The six-year plan, originally presented by Gov. Andy Beshear, omitted roughly $39 million toward the widening of Kentucky 54 from west of U.S. 60 (formerly the bypass) to Jack Hinton Road, a topic project from Daviess County Judge-Executive Al Mattingly.
Despite the governor’s plan, the House sought to put back in key programs desperately needed by the state’s counties, including Kentucky 54, said Rep. Suzanne Miles, an Owensboro Republican.
“In the House, we are always focused on what the end product will be,” she said. “The (Kentucky) 54 project is instrumental to the growth of Daviess County. It is also a safety measure that we all agree is needed. We are very pleased that it is back in the plan after the governor left it out of his.”
In all, there are 15 total roads projects set to be funded between fiscal years 2020 through 2026, including reconstructing the intersection at Fairview Drive and Kentucky 298, $3.9 million; widen Kentucky 3134 from Kentucky 3335 to Kentucky 54, $15 million; address deficiencies with Glover H. Cary Bridge (over Ohio River), $4.5 million; address deficiencies with the William H. Natcher Bridge (over Ohio River), $7.7 million as well as a $250,000 study for the Audubon Parkway, a key aspect of developing the I-69 corridor, Miles said.
“The Audubon is, of course, planning for the future,” she said. “It is key for developing the I-69 corridor in regards to potential of a bridge in the future. It is important for us to plan ahead for that to be an interstate spur. The majority of the funding focuses on safety and maintenance; the smaller amounts focusing on the programming is more progressive and looks toward the future. We need to continue to look forward to the next big thing.”
Now the plan will go to Senate, where Miles does not expect there to be any changes, she said.
“It is a good plan,” she said. ” We wanted to get it back to the programming money that we have available and I think that we are extremely close to 100% program. Our last plan was the closest it has been. The road plan had been a false hope in the past. Prior to that plan, it was so over budget that there wasn’t a promise. ... These projects should come to fruition with confidence.”
Upon passing through the Senate, the ultimate fate of the plan will be in the hands of Gov. Beshear, Miles said.
“The governor has the option to sign it or veto it, he does have that option,” she said. “I am optimistic that (Kentucky) 54 will be well taken care of. The road plan was done earlier than it has been done in the past and I feel we have done a lot of our work ahead of schedule or on schedule. We didn’t wait until the last moment. We are worried about any legislation being vetoed by the governor, so it is important we get our work completed with confidence before we adjourn. The road plan and budget are the most important products to make sure that funding is spent well in the best interest of the commonwealth.”
As far as Mattingly is concerned, he couldn’t be happier, he said.
“I am pleased, but I also understand that it has to complete its journey through the General Assembly,” he said. “I want to give props to Rep. Miles and our other representatives for listening to our needs and helping us get the transportation budget reworked so our concerns on (Kentucky) 54 were taken care of. I hope that the state will assist it and they will consider alternative sources of revenue in the future so the money is there.”
Jacob Mulliken, 270-228-2837, email@example.com.