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State Road Fund Still Running On Fumes

Josh James

While lawmakers took action to stabilize Kentucky's dwindling gas tax revenue in the waning hours of the 2015 General Assembly, the state's road fund is still expected to take a nearly $140 million dollar hit this fiscal year. And no concrete plans are on the table to make up for the lost receipts.

Low gas prices and improved fuel efficiency standards have taken a bite out of fuel taxes across the country - and Kentucky is no different. Legislative action back in March, which set a new average wholesale price floor on which to calculate the tax, may have been enough to stop the bleeding, but anticipated declines still pose a major threat to state and local road projects and maintenance.  

Transportation Secretary Mike Hancock tells cn|2 lawmakers appear unlikely to entertain any tax hikes to make up the difference.

"I’m not aware at this point of any efforts to push for tax increases of any kind to offset the reductions. I think we’re just going to take things in stride. Probably through our highway plan there might be fewer projects we’re able to build and that kind of thing, but those are the very real repercussions from having fewer dollars to work with," he says.

Hancock says local elected officials could put pressure on legislators, however, as communities depend on road fund dollars for transportation maintenance. If no fix is forthcoming, cities could lose close to $64 million according to the Consensus Forecasting Group.

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and program director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.
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