Ky. House passes $4.5B road plan amidst charges of partisanship
FRANKFORT, Ky., (WDRB) -- Road rage today at the State Capitol in Frankfort.
Some lawmakers are not happy with how more than $4-billion used to build roads is being spent.
The House Appropriations and Revenue Committee passed the $4.5 billion road fund, but not before charges that some projects were cut for partisan reasons.
It's money to be spent over the next two years on building and repairing roads and bridges across the state - projects many lawmakers consider important to re-election.
But the $4-and-half billion approved by the House committee is about a billion dollars less than the governor wanted.
Rep. Leslie Combs (D-PIkeville) who crafted the bill, says the money simply was not there.
"We had to evaluate the entire road plan across the entire commonwealth to try to figure out how to best accommodate it," said Combs.
But some lawmakers were not happy with what was left out.
"It's a disgrace to be a member of this body today," said Rep. John Carney (R-Campbellsville).
Some Republicans charge their projects were cut as punishment for not supporting a one-and-a-half cent increase in the gas tax which passed the House last week.
"When my constituents or our constituents stop to get gas, they're paying the gas tax. But when you look at this road plan, you're going to see jump out very clearly that they have been punished by the House leadership," said Carney.
Combs admits making some tough decisions, but denies anyone is being punished.
"I think the way we've done the road plan is spread out very, very well across the entire Commonwealth. I think the citizens will benefit greatly in all areas, so I tend to disagree with that," she said.
The bill also cuts $50-million from the Ohio River Bridges Project. Combs says it was money project managers discovered is to come from federal sources and will not delay the project.
Late today, the bill passed the Democratic House. It now goes to the Republican Senate where changes are likely. The two sides will have about two weeks to work out a final version.
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