Republican gubernatorial candidate Matt Bevin spoke Thursday about ways to initiate economic development in western Kentucky during a campaign stop in Murray.
After speaking at the Calloway County GOP's headquarters, Bevin said one way to bring money into the area would be to make a priority out of widening U.S. 641 into a four-lane all the way from Murray to the Tennessee state line. He said the project’s $24 million price tag would be a worthwhile investment, given that the Tennessee Department of Transportation is already building on their side of the border.
“Why in the blazes would we not extend 5.8 miles down the road to meet them?" Bevin said. "For that reason alone, it is those dollars coming in and their willingness to spend them here, but for our citizens as well. For students coming in. But also for our citizens, the safety issue alone – there’s no shoulders. If you go south of here, you know that, it’s a dangerous little road.”
Bevin also said that as governor he would raise the speed limit from 55 miles an hour to 65 on roadways like Kentucky US 68-KY 80 that cuts through Land Between the Lakes. The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet has balked at raising the speed limit on 68/80 in recent years, despite calls to do so from local officials like Calloway County judge-executive Larry Elkins.
Meanwhile, Bevin elaborated on his decision not to release his tax returns, saying he has nothing to hide. Democratic candidate Jack Conway and independent Drew Curtis both chided Bevin at Tuesday’s debate for not explaining his refusal to release the returns. Bevin says the attacks are smokescreens.
“If I did release my tax returns, people would see that I am, frankly, trust me, there’s nothing in there I’m concerned about people seeing at all," Bevin said. "I’m very generous with it. Jack Conway is a cheapskate with his money. He’s got millions of dollars that his dad gave him. Jack Conway’s never earned money in the private sector on his own.”
Bevin also says he isn’t “someone who lives to show off what he does with his resources”. The Kentucky Democratic Party says Bevin’s refusal to disclose his tax information breaks Kentucky's bipartisan tradition of disclosure by gubernatorial nominees.