Kentucky legislator hopes to be able to work with new governor to increase funding for roads and bridges

With a growing need for improvements to Kentucky’s roads and bridges, Rep. Sal Santoro plans to sponsor another bill during the 2020 session of the General Assembly to increase transportation funding to improve safety and boost the state’s economy. To achieve this, the Republican chair of the House Transportation Committee hopes Democratic governor-elect Andy Beshear and legislators from both sides of the aisle can work together on the issue.

Increasing funding for transportation needs has typically been a bipartisan issue in Kentucky. Outgoing governor Matt Bevin has been supportive of bills to raise the gas tax in the past.

Governor-elect Andy Beshear stated during his campaign he would prioritize infrastructure in Kentucky if elected and highlighted many areas of transportation need in his agenda titled “Fixing Our Aging Infrastructure: Rebuilding Kentucky to Create More Good-Paying Jobs.”

An increase in the gas tax, Santoro said, would result in minimal impact to Kentuckians and would allow the state to invest in much-needed projects statewide to make roads and bridges safer and help businesses transport goods, thus improving the economy.

According to a tool provided by the Kentucky Infrastructure Coalition that helps calculate what a gas tax increase would mean for the Kentuckians, drivers would (on average) pay around $5 more a month if the gas tax was raised by 10 cents per gallon. Santoro noted that many people spend more than that on items they buy every day and added the gas tax is the only tax citizens pay that is technically a “user fee” and they can see directly where their money is going as it cannot be used for anything but transportation.

Santoro also stated he would like to see road projects accomplished in every legislative district across the state if the gasoline consumption fee is increased.

While a bill has not yet been filed and Santoro is still gathering input on a final product, he said he is confident something will pass because as the General Assembly passes the next Road Plan in 2020 it will become clear the need is greater than ever.

Watch the full interview with Santoro below:

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Jacqueline Pitts
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