A pair of long-anticipated Kentucky bridge projects could finally see some action if Congress passes the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package, according to Kentucky Senate President Robert Stivers (R-Manchester), who participated in a press conference call with chambers of commerce leaders on Friday morning.
“When you start with the pools (federal allocations to states) – $4.6 billion to (Kentucky) highways – that gives us a true opportunity to go to look at the I-69 corridor and the Brent Spence Bridge and not even have to toll or increase taxes to have to pay for those projects,” Stivers said.
Stivers said that through talks with Kentucky Transportation Secretary Jim Gray, he understands Kentucky’s share of the two bridge projects would be roughly $700 million for I-69 and roughly $1.3 billion for the Brent Spence Bridge.
Stivers cited other projects, such as the Louie B. Nunn corridor, Mountain Parkway, Daniel Boone Parkway, and Hal Rogers Parkway, as areas where we could see additional federal funding should this landmark legislation gain final approval in Congress.
“This is of unbelievable significance and will help us frame the picture for what we have to do with electronic vehicles in transitioning to a totally new tax structure that will come into play in the next 5-10 years when looking at electronic vehicles,” Stivers said. “We’re talking about a seismic change in the direction of funding this will create at the state level because of the bipartisan leadership of the Senate to reach this agreement. I cannot say enough what it means to us and the impact of Senator McConnell’s leadership in this process.”
Kentucky Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Ashli Watts echoed Stivers’ comments on the impact of the bill with another expression of gratitude to the only Kentucky member of the U.S. Senate who supported the legislation.
“Here in Kentucky, this infrastructure bill really is critical to continuing our growth and ensuring a competitive business climate,” said Watts. “We want to thank Leader McConnell for his vote on ensuring this bill could come to passage in the Senate. He is a true friend of Kentucky businesses, and we thank him for acknowledging how important this bill is to the future of the Commonwealth.”
Watts also urged Kentucky’s congressional delegation to follow Leader McConnell’s example and vote in support of the legislation now that the bill is in the hands of the U.S. House of Representatives.
Neil Bradley, Executive Vice President, Chief Policy Officer and Head of Strategic Advocacy at the US Chamber of Commerce, spoke to the bill’s support in the Senate and other trade groups across the nation.
“You have a piece of legislation here that has the support of President Biden and a supermajority in the US Senate, including Leader McConnell; you have support from the business community – the US Chamber, chambers gathered here on this call today and chambers all over the country; and it also has the support of labor and labor organizations from across the country,” Bradley said.
Bradley went on to send a sharp message to the members of the US House of Representatives who are considering voting against the bipartisan package.
“There are some House members on the left and on the right who are toying with the idea of using this package for leverage for other priorities,” Bradley continued. “I would simply say, that’s the type of gamesmanship and politics that has prevented us from getting an infrastructure bill enacted on the federal level for going on what has now been nearly two decades.”
Also participating in Friday’s conference were Sarah Davasher Wisdom, President and CEO of Greater Louisville Inc; Bob Quick, President and CEO of Commerce Lexington, and Kristin Baldwin, Vice President of Public Affairs and Communications with the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, who all echoed their strong support of the bipartisan package.