As the need for increased infrastructure investment remains a top issue across the Commonwealth and the nation, Rep. John Sims Jr. sat down for an interview with The Bottom Line to talk about his plans to keep pushing the issue forward.
A bill was filed in the 2019 session, co-sponsored by Rep. Sims, that would generate an estimated $460 million per year in road fund revenue for the state to spend on failing roads and bridges by adding 10 cents per gallon to the state’s gas tax and other fuels, as well as expand some fees on electric vehicles, car registration renewals, and specialty license plates.
Rep. Sims served on a work group in 2018 to address infrastructure needs, which set the framework for the legislation filed in the 2018 and 2019 session. He said if the need for infrastructure funding is not addressed, Kentucky will continue to fall behind.
“I look at it as a user fee,” Rep. Sims said. “If you want nice roads to drive on, keep your vehicle safe, keep your family safe, you know it’s the cost of doing business.”
Rep. Sal Santoro, the primary sponsor of the infrastructure funding bill, has expressed similar sentiments, explaining while many get upset with the prices at the pump because it is something they are seeing frequently and watching fluctuate, those price changes have a huge impact on what the state’s roads and bridges look like.
“I hear complaints when people call and they say ‘potholes are here, why aren’t we fixing potholes?’ Well, [when] the price of gas went down, that means less money is going into the road formula for maintenance,” Santoro said. Hear more of Santoro’s comments here.
Infrastructure improvements are a key priority of the business community as it is important to companies who need to transport their goods, looking to relocate to Kentucky because of the state’s proximity and create jobs.
As for what comes next, Rep. Sims says he will continue to advocate for infrastructure funding during the budget session coming in 2020.
Watch the interview segment with Rep. Sims below: