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Legislative panel hears testimony in favor of gas tax increase

By Jordan Hensley, LRC

Frankfort, KY -- Two organizations representing Kentucky's cities and counties want lawmakers to make increasing the gas tax to improve roadways and bridges a legislative priority during the upcoming legislative session.

The Kentucky Association of Counties (KACo) and Kentucky League of Cities (KLC) advocated for a gas tax increase during their presentations to the Interim Joint Committee on Local Government meeting today.

"In our members poll, a majority of them told us that more than 40% of the county roads are in need of moderate to significant repair and a quarter of our members said that more than 60% of their roads needed repair," said Madison County Judge-Executive and KACo President Reagan Taylor.

Taylor said KACo has roughly 1,500 members and about two-thirds of attendees representing 92 counties at KACo's annual conference last month participated in the poll.

He also pointed out that the state's gas tax revenues have been dropping in recent years and an increase in the gas tax is needed as the cost to maintain roadways and bridges increases and the funding to complete these projects drops.

KLC President and Mayor of London Troy Rudder also advocated for a gas tax increase on behalf of the organization and its members.

"The success of our state is tied to the success of our local communities," Rudder said. "They depend on our infrastructure. We must have reliable and safe streets and bridges. The issue is funding. We simply do not have enough money to take care of all the transportation needs we have."

KACo's presentation also advocated for fees for electric vehicles, expanded broadband, criminal justice reform, expanded access to substance abuse treatment, jail relief and more.

Following KACo's presentation, Sen. Ralph Alvarado, R-Winchester, said some of their legislative goals will require support from "leadership from the top."

"I know its easy to say, 'just get these things accomplished,' but we need the governor to step up on some of these issues and he's not been willing to do that thus far," Alvarado said.

Other than advocating for an increase in the gas tax, KLC's presentation also focused on changing the state constitution and state law to allow cities to diversify its revenue, limiting no-knock warrants and more.

This story was posted on 2020-11-17 13:24:13
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