A spokesman for a regional Kentucky Transportation Cabinet office said his agency isn’t as affected by state budget cuts as some other parts of government. But he said the legislature needs to talk about updating the funding model to keep up with technological changes like electric vehicles.
The transportation cabinet relies on a gas tax for the majority of its funding. Because Kentucky has so many interstates that tax often provides the money needed to maintain and update roads and bridges. Spokesman for the state transportation cabinet office in Elizabethtown, Chris Jessie, said lawmakers will have to consider new funding models given the increasing popularity of electric cars.
“How do we captivate a revenue source when fuels continue to dwindle away? Because that’s where that model is going, I think we all can see that,” he said.
Jessie said there’s no way all of Kentucky’s infrastructure needs can be addressed in this six-year road plan, because the money just isn’t there. He said the current focus is on maintaining existing roads and bridges. The road plan still has to be approved by the legislature.
KYTC used a new data driven approach to determine the most important projects. Jessie said the cabinet found a common theme in feedback received from both Kentuckians and those visiting the commonwealth.
“Take care more of what you have rather than focus on building new routes,” he said.
Jessie said many legislators were involved in crafting the plan, so the project requests should come as less of a surprise compared to previous years.