Fayette County

Beshear proposes spending $173 million on roads in Fayette County

FRANKFORT — Gov. Steve Beshear's plan to spend $6.5 billion on roads over the next two and a half years includes $173 million for Fayette County.

No new major projects are planned in Lexington, but the funding would complete several projects that have been on the books for years, including the extension of Newtown Pike and Citation Boulevard and the widening of Leestown and Clays Mill roads.

The state also would spend $14.2 million to obtain rights-of-way and move utilities to prepare for the future widening of Georgetown Road from Spurr Road to Ironworks Pike.

Lexington Mayor Jim Newberry said he was pleased with Beshear's plan, calling it "another step in the right direction."

Still, he noted that lawmakers often make significant changes to the governor's proposal.

"We're a long way from construction for many of these projects due to the legislative process," Newberry said in a written statement.

Rep. Rick Rand, D-Bedford, who is chairman of the House Budget Committee, said earlier this week that legislators have not had a chance to analyze Beshear's proposal, which is contained in House Bill 292.

Kentucky depends on a variety of sources to pay for construction of its roads, including federal transportation money, federal bonds, federal stimulus money, state funds and state bonds.

Beshear has proposed a $300 million bond for road building in the next two-year budget, mostly to fund projects that the legislature agreed to fund in 2009. Lawmakers approved a $400 million bond for those projects last year, but there were many more projects than available funds.

In 2009, the legislature agreed to borrow $400 million for road projects, but the road plan included more projects that were supposed to be funded with state bond money. The $300 million bond will fund those projects that were not funded in the six-year road plan, said Chuck Wolfe, a spokesman for the Transportation Cabinet.

The Democratic-led House gets the first opportunity to revise the road plan, followed by the Republican-led Senate.

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