The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet told a legislative panel Tuesday it is suspending new highway projects as it grapples with a dwindling road fund, according to reports on Pure Politics.
Road projects slated to begin in the upcoming fiscal year, which begins July 1, and current projects in pre-construction phases will be halted under the cabinet’s new "Pause-50" initiative which will attempt to restore funding back to normal operating levels.
Greg Thomas, the agency’s secretary, said projected negative balances in the road fund during the “low days” in August, September and October this year necessitate the reprieve on highway construction and that the deficit under current operations is could hit $50 million. " Pause-50 is designed to slow or delay the starts of new projects so that we can pay current expenditures, recoup lost revenue and rebuild our funding base.”
The Pause-50 plan does not include federally funded projects, local “flex” funding and bridge replacement programs, and $125 million for resurfacing.
Rep. Leslie Combs, a Pikeville Democrat who helped craft the road plan, said she’s already fielded complaints from road contractors, particularly those in rural areas of Kentucky warning of possibly layoffs under the Pause-50 plan. “I understand what you’re trying to do,” she said. “I understand what you’re up against, but be particularly conscious about where it’s affecting because there’s some places that just can’t take anymore.”