Politics & Government

Governor's road budget includes completion of Newtown Pike extension

FRANKFORT — The "good news" in his state budget plan, Gov. Steve Beshear said, is the growing Road Fund, which he wants to use to pay for such projects as completing the Newtown Pike extension in downtown Lexington.

Other major road projects in his proposed budget include: $50 million a year for the Louisville bridges project, which already has $230 million available from previously authorized bonds; $80 million to make the Mountain Parkway four lanes between Campton and Salyersville; and $491.4 million to complete the effort to make Interstate 65 six lines from Bowling Green to Elizabethtown.

The Road Fund, which gets much of its money from the state tax on gasoline, "is in good shape and growing in a fairly aggressive manner," Beshear said Tuesday during a media briefing.

For the fourth and fifth years in a row, the fund is expected to show revenue growth, inching toward $1.6 billion, he said.

In his budget proposal for the next two years, Beshear said, the Road Fund is expected to grow 6.1 percent in the first year and 4.6 percent in the second.

"This growth will allow the state to increase revenue sharing with local governments, as well as to fund projects in the Six-Year Highway Plan that aggressively invest in Kentucky's primary road system," the Democratic governor said.

Beshear's budget calls for $41.5 million for the Newtown Pike extension to South Broadway, Transportation Cabinet spokesman Chuck Wolfe.

Other major projects in Beshear's plan include:

■ Widening Ky. 15 to four-lanes from north of Ky. 80 near Bonnyman to the Ky. 15 bypass of Hazard.

■ Completing the relocation of U.S. 460 between U.S. 23 and the Virginia state line.

■ Constructing new I-75 interchanges and building a new frontage road system between Richwood Road and Mount Zion Road in Boone County.

■ Dedicating more than $100 million a year to primary road pavement repairs across the state and spending more than $500 million to repair or replace more than 240 substandard bridges.

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