Kentucky to spend $8.5B on highway and bridge construction
- Kentucky will spend $8.5 billion on road, bridge and other infrastructure projects from 2018 to 2024, Morehead State Public Radio reported.
- The 2018 Highway Plan will see $4.6 billion spent on projects that focus on mobility and safety, $2.3 billion on bridge and pavement upgrades, $1 billion on projects with a federal connection – i.e. congestion reduction and other transportation enhancement initiatives – and $600 million will go toward GARVEE (Grant Anticipation Revenue Vehicle) debt repayments. The more than 1,400 projects included in the plan represent more than 1,000 bridge repairs and 5,000 miles of pavement repairs. In the next two years, the state will spend almost $2.7 billion on 400 bridge projects, 1,274 miles of pavement and 230 safety and mobility projects.
- In assembling the list of projects included in the six-year plan, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet eliminated approximately $5 billion of unfunded projects that were part of last year's plan but added another $2 billion of work that still needs to secure financing, which state officials said underscores the need for more state-generated infrastructure revenue. Projects in the plan are expected to benefit from a recently passed law that raised the dollar-value limit of design-build projects from $30 million to $300 million.
As part of its approach to infrastructure projects, Kentucky uses a scoring process called SHIFT to set their order of priority. Each potential project is rated according to cost benefit, safety impact, preservation of existing infrastructure, how it reduces congestion and how it promotes economic growth.
Once infrastructure projects have been vetted and added to the state's agenda, the ability to carry out more of them under a design-build contract should help the state stay within budget. Because the design phase under this method has collaboration between contractor and designer at its core, many of the costly design errors that pop up during the course of construction can be eliminated. Not all states allow the design-build process for public work, however, but that is typically dependent on procurement laws.
Shouldering a greater percentage of the financial burden for infrastructure projects is in the cards for U.S. states, as President Donald Trump's infrastructure plan calls on states to provide more funding of their own if they want to win federal dollars. There are many states, though, like California, that already have raised gas taxes and user fees in order to launch huge infrastructure initiatives. While upping gas taxes at both state and federal levels is always controversial, a few polls last year, such as one from Bloomberg and one from HNTB, revealed that taxpayers don't mind paying more if the extra money is dedicated to improving the infrastructure they use every day.
- Morehead State Public Radio Six-year highway plan includes $8.5 billion for new roads, bridge and pavement improvements
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