Kentucky lawmakers exploring new ways to fix state's roads and b - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Kentucky lawmakers exploring new ways to fix state's roads and bridges

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WDRB) -- From crumbling concrete to nightmare traffic jams, Kentucky's roads and bridges need help.

The Federal Highway Administration says 31.4 percent of Kentucky’s bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete, and 34 percent of the state’s roads are in poor or mediocre condition.

Kentucky Speaker of the House Jeff Hoover announced steps to tackle the problem Wednesday, and he said everything is on the table.

The infrastructure issue is obvious every morning on the Gene Snyder Freeway near Taylorsville Road. During rush hour, the backups on this stretch of highway are legendary.

“It can take almost an hour, 30 minutes just to get two miles,” Chance Hynes said.

Hynes drives the Snyder every day to get to his job as manager of Anytime Fitness Center on Taylorsville Road.

“Very clogged, and you know all that congestion, it can cause accidents,” he said.

The state Transportation Cabinet said widening the Snyder from four to six lanes from Taylorsville Road to I-71 is a top priority. But the problem is paying the price tag of more than $120 million for just this one project.

“The funding for our road system is a critical issue,” Hoover told reporters at the Capitol.

Hoover has named a bipartisan task force to find answers.

“How can it be done better? What are other states doing? How have other states made adaptations to better fit current society?” he asked.

A big part of the problem is the declining road fund, which is fueled by the gas tax. That tax is tied to the cost of gas. With pump prices going down and motorists driving more fuel-efficient cars, revenue has dropped by $78 million since 2014.

“We have to look at this from all angles,” said Rep. Sal Santoro (R-Florence).

Santoro co-chairs the task force with Rep. John Sims (R-Flemingsburg). The group includes two members from Louisville, Rep. Phil Moffett, a Republican, and Rep. Attica Scott, a Democrat.

“Everything's on the table," Santoro said. "We're going to look at everything."

Hoover was asked if “everything” includes a possible increase in the gas tax.

“There are no preconceived notions," he said. "That is what I've made very clear to this group."

Hynes said he just wants the roads fixed, even it means paying more.

“If it needs to be done, then I guess that's what needs to be done," he said. "The traffic does need to get better. People have to get to work on time."

The task force is to report back in December, right before the 2018 General Assembly begins its budget session in January.

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