Senator McConnell Helps Deliver Long-Term Highway Bill to Benefit Kentucky
‘With a long-term highway bill we can rebuild our infrastructure, ease growing congestion, and improve traffic safety for Kentuckians. We can support jobs and boost the economy… And we can keep Kentuckians moving safely and efficiently over our state’s roads and bridges’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell praised Senate passage today of a five-year transportation bill, the longest-term transportation bill to pass Congress in almost two decades. The Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act provides 5 years of fully paid for transportation funding and long-term certainty in a fiscally responsible way.
“While Kentucky has a strong network of interstates, highways and parkways, it’s obvious to anyone who has driven in the Commonwealth lately that many important transportation infrastructure projects are in urgent need of repair. This disrepair complicates and delays the commutes of the millions of Kentucky drivers and businesses who rely on our roads and bridges every day,” Senator McConnell said. “In previous years, Congress processed only short-term highway funding extensions, which made vital transportation projects difficult to undertake and manage. Under the new Senate, I made transportation infrastructure a priority and led the Senate in taking bipartisan action to meaningfully improve our roads and bridges over the coming years. Many said that a long-term highway bill would never pass Congress, but we proved them wrong – we proved it could actually pass by a wide, bipartisan margin.”
“This bipartisan, long-term highway and transportation bill which I helped shepherd through the Senate provides five years of guaranteed funding and stability for interstate highway projects and gives state and local governments more flexibility in how they spend federal transportation dollars. And most importantly, it would also support jobs in Kentucky and across the nation as these and other important infrastructure projects get underway,” Senator McConnell added.
Kentuckians for Better Transportation (KBT) -- the Commonwealth’s major transportation advocacy group -- thanked Senator McConnell for his work in passing the legislation: “Congress passing the five-year FAST Act transportation funding bill is a major victory for Kentucky commuters and businesses that rely on our vital transportation network and it would not have happened without Senator McConnell’s leadership. KBT thanks Senator McConnell for making transportation infrastructure a top priority in the Senate and for his pushing this important bill through Congress,” said Juva Barber, Executive Director of KBT.
Beyond providing five years of funding certainty to the Commonwealth for transportation projects -- which is prioritized in Frankfort -- the FAST Act includes a number of measures that could specifically benefit Kentucky, including:
Natcher Parkway/I-65 Spur designation
- Designates the existing Natcher Parkway between Bowling Green and Owensboro an official Spur of I-65 in an effort to help attract additional economic development to the region. Representative Brett Guthrie (KY-02) worked on the provision in the House of Representatives.
Nationally Significant Freight and Highway Projects
- Makes it easier for Kentucky to compete for federal funding to help advance major transportation infrastructure projects like the Brent Spence Bridge that have not been funded through existing resources. $4.5 billion is provided for this competitive program over the life of the bill.
National Highway Freight Program
- Establishes a formula program -- funded at $6.2 billion over life of the bill -- to improve highway infrastructure projects that are especially critical to the movement of freight, like the Brent Spence Bridge.
ARC High-speed broadband development initiative
- Authorizes $50 million over the life of the bill for the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) to provide grants, technical assistance, training and equipment to the Appalachian region in an effort to increase affordable access to broadband networks, distance learning opportunities, telehealth technologies, and promote e-commerce applications.
“With a long-term highway and transportation bill we can rebuild our infrastructure, ease growing congestion, and improve traffic safety for Kentuckians. We can support jobs and boost the economy by undertaking new construction and by helping Kentucky farmers and businesses get their products to market. And we can keep Kentucky drivers moving safely and efficiently over our state’s roads and bridges,” Senator McConnell said. “Today’s passage of the highway and transportation bill is just the latest reminder of what’s possible in a new and more open Senate. It’s an achievement for the American people—an achievement that only the new majority in Congress has been able to deliver.”