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Kentucky Road Plan Waits for Another Day

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Decisions about three and a half billion dollars in road and bridge projects across Kentucky will wait for another day.

Lawmakers from the House and Senate spent many hours negotiating over the weekend before finally reaching agreement on a two year state budget.  But, consensus on a road plan remains on the 'to do' list.  

Still up in the air is where to set the state's gas tax.  The House voted to freeze it at the December level, which is two point two cents higher than the current rate.  Still, Transportation Budget Subcommittee Chair Leslie Combs says it shouldn't be considered a tax increase.  

"The market out there is charging the price regardless.  No, we get our tax dollars on that wholesale price, no retail.  That's where the misunderstanding is," said Combs.

Combs says she paid three dollars 90 cents a gallon for gas over the weekend.  With the House plan approved, Combs argues the "at the pump" cost would not necessarily be three-92.  In the Senate, President Robert Stivers says his chamber is 'not thrilled about raising taxes'.

Lawmakers from the House and Senate are scheduled to meet on Monday to try and reach agreement on three and a half billion dollars to cover the state's road plan.  Senate Transportation Committee Chair Ernie Harris says it's hard to predict how much squabbling will occur.  

"Well it's too early to tell but you know, they have their priorities and we have ours," said Harris. "I believe that we will reach an agreement on it.  There are some things that must be completed."

Among those, according to Harris, is allocating money for the Brent Spence bridge in northern Kentucky, widening interstate 65, a Georgetown interchange near Toyota, and the mountain parkway improvements.  

Stu Johnson is a reporter/producer at WEKU in Lexington, Kentucky.
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