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State Rep. Bridges: $8.2 Billion Needed To Repair Kentucky’s Roads And Bridges

Matt Markgraf

Kentucky State Representative Randy Bridges says additional state revenue is necessary to improve the state’s transportation infrastructure.

Bridges said in a Paducah Chamber of Commerce public policy discussion on Wednesday that state roadways and bridges are deteriorating and falling down. He serves on the House Transportation Committee.

“When it comes to the budget and transportation... I don’t think people realize the financial crisis our state is in,” Bridges said. “Not just with pension but with transportation.”

He said $8.2 billion is needed to repair all of this damage, and only $2.6 billion is allocated for transportation in the biennial budget.

Bridges said one way to raise revenue would be to follow Tennessee’s tax model by increasing sales and gasoline tax and reducing or eliminating state income tax.

“And if we look at Tennessee as a prime example, I mean, they’re knocking it dead down there,” Bridges said. “And they’ve done this system, they have no income tax.”

He said these tax changes would occur gradually, but said the gas tax would likely be introduced in the legislature first.

Senator Danny Carroll and Representative Richard Heath also spoke on the possible advantages of a new gasoline tax.

Carroll said there’s no question the fuel tax needs to be increased. He said infrastructure is critical to the state’s future and there needs to be a plan to address that.

Heath said it’s no secret the state doesn’t have enough revenue for all of the road projects that need to be done. “And there’s been a bill introduced the last two sessions to actually increase our gas tax a little, and I’ll be right upfront and honest with you, I signed on as a cosponsor because of the needs we have across the state for infrastructure,” he said. “It takes money to do that.”

Shelby Frye is a senior at Murray State University, double majoring in theatre and journalism. She has lived in Murray for four years, but grew up in Paris, Tennessee. When she isn’t working at WKMS, Shelby performs in and works on crew for Murray State Theatre productions, plays Dungeons & Dragons, and keeps her plate full with her dual majors.