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April 19, 2012

House road budget contains nearly $72 million for Madison County

FRANKFORT — The two-year state road budget passed Wednesday by the House of Representatives contains nearly $72 million for Madison County projects.

The issue now goes before the Senate.

The legislature had adjourned earlier without enacting a transportation budget, leading Gov. Steve Beshear to call the lawmakers back for a special session.

A final budget will not become law until passed by both legislative chambers and signed by the governor.

Funded projects range from a rural-road bridge costing $300,000 to the second phase of the Berea Bypass at more than $17.5 million and nearly $32.4 million for the second and third phases of US 25 from Pumpkin Run to the split with US 421.

“We’re happy that we got pretty much everything we asked for,” Rep. Rita Smart, D-Richmond, said on behalf of the county’s four-member legislative delegation.

Smart is the delegation’s only Democrat. Other delegation members are Rep. Lonnie Napier, R-Lancaster; Rep. Donna Mayfield, R-Winchester; and Sen. Jared Carpenter, R-Berea.

Having a Democrat in the House of Representatives, where her party is in control, and a Republican in the Senate, where his party has the majority, worked to Madison County’s advantage, Carpenter said.

Not every county with a mixed delegation gets the benefit of bi-partisan cooperation, he said.

Both Smart and Carpenter had praise for Napier, who will be ending a 28-year legislative career this year.

“Lonnie stands up for his people,” Smart said. “He’s not afraid to make demands, and when he does, other legislators listen.”

Carpenter said he was able to get some Madison County road projects, not contained in the budget the House had passed before the regular session adjourned, added to the Senate version.

They were included in a measure that passed the House on Wednesday.

The Berea Bypass funding, although not scheduled to be spent until the 2014 fiscal year, was given the highest budget priority, both Smart and Carpenter pointed out.

For the 2012 and 2013 fiscal years, $5.2 million was budgeted to widen US 25 from Ellipse Street to the Berea Bypass. The project includes sidewalks and bike paths.

Funding to widen US 25 south of Richmond to the US 421 junction was budgeted for the 2012 and 2014 fiscal years.

For fiscal year 2013, $3 million was budgeted to widen the bridge over Interstate 75 at Exit 90.

The budget for 2014 contains $9 million for work to connect Exit 83 on Interstate 75 with KY 52 from Lancaster.

Other projects in the House budget include:

• $1.06 million to improve Bratcher Lane in Berea from KY 594 to Bryon Avenue

• $1.05 million to complete widening of KY 1983 (Menelaus Road)

• $1 million to reconstruct the road from US 25 to the White Hall State Shrine

• $470,000 to rebuild Dreyfus Road bridge over Hays Fork Creek

• $380,000 to rebuild Old Hays Fork Lane bridge over Hays Fork Creek

• $300,000 to rebuild the US 421 bridge over Cowbell at KY 21 junction.

Bill Robinson can be reached at brobinson@richmondregister.com or at 624-6622.

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