The Richmond Register

Local News

April 16, 2014

Legislature passes road-spending plan

FRANKFORT — Kentucky House and Senate lawmakers agreed Tuesday to a $4.1 billion road-spending plan on the legislature’s final day, avoiding an expensive special session.

The plan includes $5.2 billion worth of projects throughout the state. But as much as 25 percent of that money will not be spent. Lawmakers said they would like to include a cushion in case some projects are delayed because of environmental concerns or problems acquiring land.

Republicans and Democrats clashed over the spending plan Monday, when leaders of both parties said it was unlikely they would reach a deal. That could have led Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear to call the legislature back to Frankfort for a special session that would have cost taxpayers $60,000 per day.

But lawmakers emerged from hours of closed-door meetings Tuesday to say they had reached an agreement both bodies could pass.

In an election year when Republicans are trying to take control of the House, the road-funding plan ended up showcasing the political and philosophical differences between the two parties. Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear and House Democratic leaders wanted to restore the state gasoline tax to its December 2013 level. That would have raised the tax 1.5 cents per gallon and generated $107 million over the next two years to pay for more projects.

But Senate Republicans attacked that proposal as a tax increase, setting up nearly three weeks of contentious negotiations that almost ended without an agreement. House Democrats agreed to give up the gas-tax increase and Senate Republicans agreed to add more projects to the plan.

Senate Republicans were quick to declare victory.

“When we started this process, the governor’s plan was based on a tax increase we were not going to approve. It was over-programmed 87 percent,” said Sen. Ernie Harris, R-Prospect, chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee. “And we are leaving here with a plan that is balanced federally within 5 percent, which is normal, and the state portion is over-programmed about 25 percent. That’s a little bit higher than what we wanted, but it is within the realm of a good compromise.”

The proposed gas-tax increase could become a campaign issue in the fall. But Democratic House Speaker Greg Stumbo said it wasn’t crucial to Democrats that such an increase be passed.

“The only difference it made is whether Kentuckians would have seen the benefit of getting their roads built and fixed or whether the oil companies profiteered,” Stumbo said.

The Senate approved the plan 37-1, and the House 71-26. It includes:

• $35 million for a new interchange on Interstate 75 next to Toyota Motor Mfg. in Scott County.

• $28.7 million to continue planning the replacement of the Brent Spence Bridge that connects Covington to Cincinnati.

• $123 million over two years to continue the Mountain Parkway widening project in eastern Kentucky.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Berea utility doubles solar farm, again

    Berea Municipal Utilities started its solar farm in October 2011 with 60 panels. In less that five days, all were leased.
    Another 60, which became operational in June 2012, were leased in less than four months.
    Now, the farm again has doubled, with the addition of 126 panels that are ready for leasing, said Steve Boyce, a retired Berea College professor who has been involved with the program since its inception.

    July 30, 2014

  • Miss Madison Winners 2.jpg My fair ladies

      

    July 29, 2014 5 Photos

  • 10th Quilt Extravaganza is Friday, Saturday

    Displays of quilts by men, baby quilts, the Grandmother’s Flower Garden pattern, an exhibit of feed sack fabric, ongoing demonstrations, and a vendors market are features of the 10th Berea Quilt Extravaganza Friday and Saturday at Berea Community School off Ellipse Street.

    July 29, 2014

  • 7-30 Samantha Frederick.jpg RPD: Heroin sales lead to trafficking indictment

    Executing a warrant issued after Samantha Frederick, 29, Northgate Drive, was indicted July 16 by a Madison County grand jury, Richmond Police arrested her Monday on drug trafficking charges.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7-29 YMCA-Schools.jpg YMCA, county district to provide after-school care

    The Telford YMCA is partnering with the Madison County School District to provide after-school child care for kindergarten and elementary students.
    YMCA Executive Director Dave Wallace and Madison County School Superintendent Elmer Thomas announced the partnership Monday afternoon.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7-29 Lucille May 1.jpg Memories bloom in May’s garden

    After realizing a story was being written about 96-year-old Lucille May, tenants of Willis Manor gathered in the lobby to share stories about her.
    Affectionately called “Mamaw” by other residents and workers at the apartment building, May has spent the four years of her residence transforming an outdoor garden that was overtaken by weeds. It’s now a thriving flowerbed, complete with interesting rocks, decorations and conversation.

    July 29, 2014 4 Photos

  • 7-29 Construction 1.jpg Water Street storm-water digging begins

    Caisson holes were drilled and then filled with concrete and steel poles Monday to create a retaining structure to shore up the Allstate Insurance building foundations' firm when excavation for the Water Street Stormwater Improvement Project begins.
    Digging for 20 ton, 6 by 7 foot concrete box culverts will begin today, if weather permits, said Jason Hart, Richmond’s director of Planning and Zoning. The culverts will help reduce the likelihood of flooding on Water Street by carrying storm water under Main Street, the CVS parking lot and Irvine Street to a stream, he said.

    July 28, 2014 4 Photos

  • 7-29 Robert Abney.jpg RPD: Bottle bomb injures man, damages neighbor’s home

    Richmond Police on Friday charged Robert Abney, 30, of Moberly Avenue, in connection with a May 30 explosion that injured Abney and damaged a neighbor’s home.
    Officers were dispatched May 30 to a residence in the 500 block of Moberly Avenue to investigate the report of an explosion.
    They found the remains of a plastic bottle bomb near a residence adjoining Moberly’s, according to an RPD news release. A wall of the occupied home was smoldering and grass was burned in the area, it added.

    July 28, 2014 4 Photos

  • 7-29 Steven Coffey.jpg Two led police on I-75 chase from Berea

    Berea Police found a man passed out and intoxicated inside his crashed vehicle on Interstate 75 Wednesday, according to a police report.
    Steven Coffey, 34, of Berea, had slurred speech and was unsteady on his feet when officers arrived at the vehicle, the police report stated. They determined he was under the influence of drugs, the report stated.

    July 28, 2014 2 Photos

  • 7-27 HeartChase 1.jpg A race to the finish line

    Sheltered by overcast sky and supported by a cool breeze, teams competed Saturday morning in the second annual HeartChase at Richmond Centre.

    July 26, 2014 6 Photos