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White House Revisits Federal Gas Tax Increase

The White House is revisiting an increase in the federal gas tax to pay for infrastructure improvements President Trump promised to deliver on the campaign trail.

That news was conveyed to House members on October 25th in a meeting by Trump’s chief economic adviser, Gary Cohn.

“Probably whatever we end up being able to do in Washington, it’s going to take administration leadership to get out there and push for it,” said a GOP House staff member familiar with the long-standing resistance to a gas tax hike by many congressional Republicans.

Read more at The Washington Post.

2018 PAIKY Winter Training School

WINTER TRAINING SCHOOL REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN!

The premier industry training event in Kentucky rolls on for it’s 32nd year.  The 2018 PAIKY Winter Training School will take place Feb. 28th – March 2nd, 2018 at the Downtown Louisville Marriott. The schedule is still under construction but expect the same basic schedule of starting at 1pm on Wed. the 28th and wrapping up at noon on Fri. the 2nd. We hope you can be there with us! See the latest draft agenda by clicking this link.

Register Here!

Kentucky Infrastructure Coalition Launches Online Presence

KICKStartKY-logo-webIn order to remain vital and relevant, Kentucky must care for it’s infrastructure. The beneficial impact that a good transportation system has on it’s citizens and businesses is huge. That is why the Plantmix Asphalt Industry of Kentucky (PAIKY) has joined together with manufacturers, farmers, engineers, local leaders and more than 40,000 transportation workers who understand that safe, reliable, efficient transportation is essential to Kentucky’s economy. The Coalition supports long-term, sustainable funding that provides adequate revenues for all modes of transportation so our state can maintain the infrastructure we have today and build what we need for our future.

The Kentucky Infrastructure Coalition (KIC) also has an online presence that will help to spread its message and help educate Kentuckians about what the true impact of our transportation system is and why we must act soon to correct our funding crisis. Visit the website (www.kickstartky.com) to learn more and follow KIC on social media to keep updated on the latest news and information concerning Kentucky’s infrastructure. 

KIC on Facebook     KIC on Twitter

Working Group on Kentucky’s Transportation Infrastructure

FRANKFORT, KY – June 28, 2017

Speaker Jeff Hoover announced the creation of the Working Group on Kentucky’s Transportation Infrastructure, consisting of nine members from the Kentucky House of Representatives. The bipartisan group is charged with ensuring Kentucky’s transportation infrastructure is safe, effective and able to support the state’s business and jobs growth, particularly in the fast-growing manufacturing sector.

“Kentucky is blessed with a prime geographic location for transportation logistics, which is incredibly valuable when it comes to moving products,” said Speaker Hoover. “For us to become the country’s prime advanced manufacturing hub, it is vital that we fund roads and bridges to a level that will allow us to handle increased transportation demands.”

Since 2014, Kentucky’s road fund revenue has declined at a steady clip. From 2014 to 2016, the annual road fund revenue declined by a whopping $78 million, which put the road fund cash balance in jeopardy and forced the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet to implement the Pause 50 initiative last year, which stopped all phases of new state-funded projects, including design, right of way/utilities and construction for the first year of a two-year period. Additionally, road fund revenues have been forecast to fall another $25 million in 2017.

“In today’s market of more fuel-efficient vehicles and a nearly 10-year low in gasoline prices, both of which have squeezed road fund revenues, it’s more important than ever to find ways to fund the future of our infrastructure,” added Speaker Hoover. “As Speaker, I am committed to joining Governor Bevin to make Kentucky the advanced manufacturing hub in the country, and the best possible transportation system is absolutely necessary to do so. Additionally, every single business and Kentuckian relies on safe, effective roadways just to go about their daily life.”

According to the Federal Highway Administration, 31.4% of Kentucky’s bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete, while 34% of our roads are in poor or mediocre condition. Additionally, it is estimated that around 2020, the loss of toll credits will require that more state funds be used to match federal transportation funding.

The working group will be chaired by Rep. Sal Santoro, R-Florence, and Rep. John Sims, D-Flemingsburg. Other members include Rep. Bart Rowland, R-Tompkinsville, Rep. Phil Moffett, R-Louisville, Rep. Chad McCoy, R-Bardstown, Rep. Marie Rader, R-McKee, Rep. Matt Castlen, R-Maceo, Rep. Attica Scott, D-Louisville, and Rep. Jeff Greer, D-Brandenburg.

“Kentucky’s roads and bridges are simply not in the condition they should be to support our robust economy, particularly in my logistical hot bed of Northern Kentucky, where we have multiple major highways and bridges,” said Sal Santoro, Co-Chairman of the Working Group. “I applaud Speaker Hoover for taking the reins on this vastly important issue for all of Kentucky, and showing the type of leadership we have lacked for years. I am confident this group will begin finding solutions immediately to begin moving our transportation infrastructure in the right direction.”

The group is set to begin work immediately, and will release its schedule to the public as soon as it’s available.

TRIP Report, “Kentucky Transportation by the Numbers”, Released

KENTUCKY MOTORISTS LOSE $4 BILLION ANNUALLY ON ROADS THAT ARE ROUGH, CONGESTED & LACK SOME SAFETY FEATURES – AS MUCH AS $1,900 PER DRIVER, COSTS WILL RISE AND CONDITIONS WILL WORSEN WITHOUT INCREASED FUNDING

Deficient roads in KY cost motorists $4B per year in additional cots.

Roads and bridges that are deteriorated, congested or lack some desirable safety features cost Kentucky motorists a total of $4 billion statewide annually – as much as $1,899 per driver in some urban areas – due to higher vehicle operating costs, traffic crashes and congestion-related delays. Increased investment in transportation improvements at the local, state and federal levels could relieve traffic congestion, improve road, bridge and transit conditions, boost safety, and support long-term economic growth in Kentucky, according to a new report released today by TRIP, a Washington, DC based national transportation organization.

The TRIP report, “Kentucky Transportation by the Numbers: Meeting the State’s Need for Safe, Smooth and Efficient Mobility,” finds that throughout Kentucky, 16 percent of major, locally and state-maintained urban roads are in poor condition and eight percent of Kentucky’s locally and state-maintained bridges are structurally deficient. The state’s major urban roads are becoming increasingly congested, with drivers wasting significant amounts of time and fuel each year. And, more than 3,500 people were killed in crashes on Kentucky’s roads from 2011 to 2015.

Driving on Kentucky’s roads costs drivers a total of $4 billion per year in the form of extra vehicle operating costs (VOC) as a result of driving on roads in need of repair, lost time and fuel due to congestion-related delays, and the costs of traffic crashes in which roadway features likely were a contributing factor. The TRIP report calculates the cost to motorists of insufficient roads in the Bowling Green, Lexington, Louisville, Northern Kentucky and Owensboro urban areas. A breakdown of the costs per motorist in each area along with a statewide total is below.

VOC Safety Congestion TOTAL
Bowling Green $85 $395 $325 $805
Lexington $278 $351 $656 $1,285
Louisville $519 $332 $1,048 $1,899
Northern KY $495 $210 $989 $1,694
Owensboro $368 $362 $335 $1,065
STATEWIDE TOTAL $1 billion $1.4 billion $1.6 billion $4 billion

The TRIP report finds that 16 percent of Kentucky’s major urban roads are in poor condition, while 44 percent are in mediocre or fair condition and the remaining 40 percent are in good condition. Driving on rough roads costs Kentucky drivers $1 billion each year in extra vehicle operating costs, including accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear.

Traffic congestion in Kentucky is worsening, particularly in the state’s largest urban areas. Kentucky drivers lose $1.6 billion annually in the form of lost time and wasted fuel due to traffic congestion. Traffic congestion robs commuters of time and money and imposes increased costs on businesses, shippers and manufacturers, which are often passed along to the consumer.
Eight percent of Kentucky’s bridges are structurally deficient, with significant deterioration to the bridge deck, supports or other major components.

Traffic crashes in Kentucky claimed the lives of 3,538 people between 2011 and 2015. Kentucky’s overall traffic fatality rate of 1.56 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel is the fourth highest in the nation and significantly higher than the national average of 1.13.

The efficiency and condition of Kentucky’s transportation system, particularly its highways, is critical to the health of the state’s economy.  Annually, $502 billion in goods are shipped to and from sites in Kentucky, mostly by truck. Seventy-six percent of the goods shipped annually to and from sites in Kentucky are carried by trucks and another 13 percent are carried by courier services or multiple mode deliveries, which include trucking.

“These conditions are only going to get worse, increasing the additional costs to motorists, if greater investment is not made available at the state and local levels of government,” said Will Wilkins, TRIP’s executive director. “Without adequate funding, Kentucky’s transportation system will become increasingly deteriorated and congested, hampering economic growth and quality of life of the state’s residents.”

ATSSF Announces 2016 Roadway Worker Memorial Scholarship Recipients

FREDERICKSBURG, Va. (June 21, 2016) – The American Traffic Safety Services Foundation (The Foundation), which exists to raise public awareness for roadway work zone safety across the country, recently awarded new 2016 Roadway Worker Memorial Scholarships to five students. The scholarships are awarded to dependents of workers, who were killed or permanently disabled in roadway work zone crashes, to help assist them in continuing their academic goals. Additionally, scholarship recipients who demonstrate a strong commitment to volunteerism are also eligible for a $1,000 scholarship in honor of former American Traffic Safety Services Association member Chuck Bailey, who was killed in a tragic highway accident in 2002.

The 2016 recipients are:

Andrea Pair, of Oklahoma, who attends Carl Albert State College in Poteau, Okla. Pair will also receive an additional scholarship in the amount of $1,000 for her volunteer work. Pair’s father, Shannon, worked for Time Striping Inc. in Arkansas when he was removing pavement marking from a highway, and a vehicle struck and killed him. Pair was two years old when her father died at the age of 31.

Lyndsay Sutton (nee Morgan), of Florida, attends Florida Gulf Coast University. Sutton will also receive an additional $1,000 for her volunteer work. Her father, Steven, was employed by DBi Services when he was killed by a motorist who lost control of his vehicle during a work zone traffic slowdown in 2011.

Rachael Moser, of the District of Columbia, who attends Harvard Graduate School of Education, received a scholarship. Moser’s father, Richard, was employed by the Maryland State Highway Administration when he was killed after being struck by a pickup truck in 2007.

Brionna Lizotte, of Missouri, who attends Truman State University, also in Missouri, received a scholarship. Her father, Gerald, was transporting materials from a worksite for his job with the Missouri Department of Transportation when he was hit by a vehicle, resulting in his death.

Hayden Gonyer, of New Hampshire, attends Universal Technical Institute in Massachusetts. His father, Robert, worked for the New Hampshire Department of Transportation, where he was placing cones as part of a lane closure. He fell from the back of a pickup truck and died as a result of his injuries.

To learn more about the Roadway Worker Memorial Scholarship program and to download an application, visit www.atssa.com/TheFoundation.

Looking at Transportation Funding Beyond the Gas Tax

Infrastructure Week discussions delved into options for offsetting declines in gasoline and diesel tax revenues. Is taxing vehicle mileage the answer? Oregon has experimented since last July with a vehicle-miles-traveled program, which allows up to 5,000 motorists to pay a 1.5 cents-per-mile charge, instead of fuel tax.

Odometer Image

“It’s actually not a foreign concept,” Joung Lee, policy director for the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, told an audience that included state lawmakers, as he discussed mileage-based taxes last Thursday.

Lee likened per-mile taxation to paying for electricity or water in a home.

“If you use a lot, you’re going to pay a lot,” he said. “I think that kind of linkage is really missing when we’re talking about the transportation investment and the funding in this country.”

But Oregon state Sen. Fred Girod, a Republican who represents a rural district that stretches east of Salem, pointed out that mileage-based taxes continue to stoke privacy concerns, with some people troubled by the idea of the government collecting information about their driving habits.

“That is the push back, really hard, is the confidentiality of the information,” he said during the event where Lee spoke.

Read the full article here at routefifty.com

KYTC Announces Long-awaited New Leadership Appointments

Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) Secretary Greg Thomas today announced Patty Dunaway, P.E., will serve as state highway engineer. Dunaway becomes the second woman in Cabinet history to assume the role.Patty_Dunaway

 “Patty’s extensive career in engineering will help shape our strategic vision for improving Kentucky’s vast transportation network,” said Sec. Thomas. “I look forward to working with Patty and her talented team as we begin to address the budgetary challenges facing the Cabinet.”

Patty began her career at KYTC as a scholarship student in 1990, working summers out of the Lexington and Elizabethtown district offices. During her 26 year career at the Cabinet, she worked in various areas including construction, design, planning and most recently, serving as chief district engineer for the District Four highway office in Elizabethtown since 2006. 

“I am very thankful for this opportunity and honored to continue to serve Kentucky alongside the great employees of the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet,” said Dunaway.

Dunaway has been involved with various planning studies including the Heartland Parkway and the U.S. 31W Safety Corridor. She has managed the Safety Program and the annual Rural Secondary Program for District Four. Dunaway initiated the I-65 Incident Management Team and was responsible for overseeing the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) highway projects at Ft. Knox as well as the remaining 30 mile widening project of I-65 to six lanes.

Throughout her career, she served as district coordinator for the Kentucky Engineering Exposure Network (KEEN) and the director for the Kentucky Association of Transportation Engineers. In 2011, Dunaway was named the University of Kentucky’s Young Engineer of the Year.

Dunaway holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Kentucky.

She lives in Leitchfield with her husband Jerry and has two daughters, Dawn and Tara, who attend the University of Louisville. The appointment is effective May 1.

The state highway engineer oversees the Department of Highways, which is responsible for 12 highway districts as well as numerous offices and divisions. More information can be found at http://transportation.ky.gov/Organizational-Resources/Organizational%20Charts/Highways.pdf 

Barber named deputy state highway engineer for Project Delivery and Preservation

Andy Barber, P.E., of Louisville, will serve as the deputy state highway engineer for Project Delivery and Preservation.

Andy-BarberPrior to his appointment, Barber was an assistant state highway engineer serving as project manager for the $2.3 billion Louisville-Southern Indiana Ohio River Bridges Project. Barber began his career at the Cabinet as a scholarship student in 2001. He previously served as deputy project manager for the Bridges Project, project manager for the Milton Madison Bridge Replacement Project and as a resident engineer in the Cabinet’s Lexington district.

Barber received his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Kentucky. Business First of Louisville named Barber “Forty Under 40” in 2012.

Andy, his wife Jennifer, and daughters Molly and Lucy make their home in Louisville.

Paul Looney, P.E., of Frankfort, will serve as the deputy state highway engineer for Project Development.Paul_Looney

Paul also began his career at the Cabinet as a KYTC scholarship student. Looney spent 16 years in the Division of Highway Design as a pavement engineer and the pavement branch manager for six years. Paul currently serves as an assistant state highway engineer working primarily in project development. He has been the project manager for the Interstate 69 project since 2014.

Looney received his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Kentucky.  In 2015, Looney helped develop the Project Manager’s Boot Camp.

Paul, his wife Natalie, and their son Lachlan reside in Frankfort.

Both appointments are effective May 1.

New Federal Highway Bill Signed Into Law

The “Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act,” or FAST Act, will grow annual federal highway investments by 15.1 percent from the current $40.3 billion to $46.4 billion by FY 2020. The legislation also provides five years of predictable funding for the asphalt pavement industry. The FAST Act uses a variety of onetime cost savings and non-transportation resources to supplement incoming trust fund revenue to support its investment levels over the next five years.

The National Asphalt Paving Association (NAPA) has put together a summary of the FAST Act. It highlights the Act’s impact on the asphalt (and related) industry. You can find it here.

Long-term Highway Bill Will Test New House Speaker

One of Paul Ryan’s first tests as speaker of the House will be passing a long-term transportation funding bill for the first time in a decade.

Congress has not passed a transportation bill that last longer than two years since 2005, and lawmakers are now facing a Nov. 20 for the expiration of the federal government’s current round of infrastructure funding.

Ryan (R-Wis.) had identified the highway bill as a top priority before he took the House gavel, but the rubber is meeting the road now that he is official the lower chamber’s leader.

Ryan did not mention the highway bill in his acceptance speech on Thursday or in his appearances on all five major Sunday political talk shows on Sunday, but he has called for a return to “regular order” in Congress were big bills like the highway measure originate in committees of jurisdiction.

“The committees should retake the lead in drafting all major legislation,” Ryan said in his Thursday speech. “If you know the issue, you should write the bill. Open up the process. Let people participate. And they might change their tune. A neglected minority will gum up the works. A respected minority will work in good faith. Instead of trying to stop the majority, they might try to become the majority.”

The problem is the highway bill falls under the jurisdiction of multiple panel, including the House Ways and Means Committee Ryan vacated to assumed the speakership.

Lawmakers on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee have approved a bill to spend up to $325 billion over the next years on infrastructure projects, but the measure only includes guaranteed funding for the first three years. Lawmakers on the infrastructure committee have said they waiting on Ryan’s former Ways and Means panel to come up with a way to pay for the rest of the transportation spending, a process which was held up by the unexpected speaker election.

The House Rules Committee is scheduled to take up the measure, titled the Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2015, on Monday, clearing the way for potential floor vote as early as Tuesday. The measure calls for spending $261 billion on highways, $55 billion on transit and approximately $9 billion on safety programs — but only if Congress can come up with a way to pay for the final three years.

Some Democrats have suggested raising the 18.4-cents-per-gallon federal gas tax that is traditionally used to pay for federal transportation projects.

“The bill under consideration calls for a six-year period of spending authority, and hopes to be funded for three years with a combination of budget gimmicks and tax code smoke and mirrors over the next decade. But Congress will be back to square one when that money runs out, facing an even bigger hole in the Highway Trust Fund — and once again throwing hundreds of thousands of jobs into uncertainty,” said Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), who introducing an amendment to the highway bill to to increase the gas tax by 15 cents.

Ryan has said he is opposed to the idea of increasing the gas tax, preferring instead to try to tap corporate revenue that is housed overseas to pay for roads through a process that is known as repatriation.

“I want to make very clear: I’m against raising the gas tax,” Ryan said in a June hearing about the transportation funding shortfall.

“There’s not much happening in this economy to help it grow, but lower gas prices is one of them,” he continued then. “Working families have been struggling for years to get by. They’ve looked high and low for good-paying jobs. Their paychecks haven’t grown much at all. And now they’re finally catching a break. It would be downright unfair to take that away from them. So we are not raising gas taxes — plain and simple.”

The highway bill that is under consideration in the House only includes three years’ worth of guaranteed funding, which would be paid for mostly with revenue from the 18.4 cents per gallon federal gas tax. The tax has traditionally been used to pay for federal highway bills since the 1930’s, but it has not been increased since 1993 and it has struggled to keep pace with rising construction costs.

The gas tax brings in about $34 billion per year at its current rate, but federal government typically spends about $50 billion annually on transportation projects. Lawmakers have turned to other areas of the federal budget to close the gap in recent years, but they have been forced to settle for a series of temporary highway funding patches that advocates say make it harder for states to plan large construction projects.

Transportation advocates have long pushed for a gas tax increase to close the approximately $16 billion annual shortfall in infrastructure funding that has developed as cars have grown more fuel efficient. Lawmakers like Ryan have been reluctant to ask drivers to pay more at the pump, however, leaving the federal government’s Highway Trust Fund running on fumes for years.

The Congressional Budget Office has estimated it will take about $100 billion – in addition to the gas tax revenue – to pay for a full six-year transportation funding measure, which is the historic length of typical highway bills.

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