The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet recently asked the Pike County Fiscal Court to create a priority list for the county’s infrastructure needs.
During a recent meeting of the Pike County Fiscal Court, several officials from the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet addressed the court regarding a possible partnership that would help aid the county’s infrastructure.
“We’re trying to make our way to as many fiscal court meetings as we can to talk to the folks that know best, which is the local folks about your needs,” said Kentucky Transportation Cabinet secretary Gregory Thomas. “The governor recognizes, we recognize that we don’t just have 28,000 miles of state-owned highways, there’s 80,000 total and all of it has to do with the economy, all of it has to do with jobs.”
According to Thomas, funding is a problem not just at the county level, but at the state level, as well, so cabinet officials believe it is a good idea to partner with the counties.
“The governor does have some discretionary funding and what we’re doing is going around offering a partnership to see what your critical needs may be,” Thomas said. “We’re looking for projects that contribute directly to job growth, job retention, or you may just have some critical roads in need of repair.”
Thomas asked the court to come up with a priority list so that it could be submitted to the governor and then hopefully, he said it can get on the approval list.
One example of the type of priorities for which the cabinet is looking is the recent partnership the fiscal court entered into with District 12 and the cabinet regarding the U.S. DOT bill grant, which saw the county commit to putting $500,000 in re-captured coal severance tax funds to help reconstruct a portion of the road from U.S. 119 to the Kellogg’s factory, Pike County Judge-Executive Ray Jones said, as that project will directly impact jobs.
“A lot of our road equipment needs to be replaced,” Jones said. “And we simply don’t have the manpower or resources to take care of the roads that are in the system.”
Jones cited lack of funding as an issue, alluding to the more than $800,000 that was budgeted just to black top the county roads, which he said “may black top 25 miles”. However, Thomas said, Pike County isn’t the only counties lacking proper funding.
According to Thomas, just about every county, “with the exception of one or two” is in dire financial need to just sustain its road program.
“Any assistance we can get, just in terms of discretionary funding would be greatly appreciated,” Jones said.
According to Thomas, as soon as the fiscal court can submit the list to District 12 Chief Engineer Mary Westfall-Holbrook, it can the be submitted to the governor’s office for possible approval.