Local/Regional News
6:23 pm
Wed March 26, 2014

Senate Scales Back House Transportation Budget

The state Senate has agreed to an extra $37 million for the Brent Spence bridge project in northern Kentucky as part of its transportation plan.

The money was included in the Senate's version of a two-year, $3.6 billion spending plan to repair and replace roads and bridges across the state.

The House included $22 million in federal money for the bridge. The Senate added an extra $37 million on top of that. Neither body included money from tolls. Ohio has already spent over $68 million on the project and Kentucky has contributed far less - only $20.9 million.

In committee Wednesday, Sen. Brandon Smith applauded his colleagues for reining in some of the projects included in the House version.

"It's just political maneuvering to put stuff out there, so far out there that we know they're not going to get done and people at home get excited about something they know they're not going to get. And while that would be great - it's an election year for many of us and we like to have stuff in there to say 'we put that bridge in there for you' - this budget just simply takes a responsible approach for transportation," Smith said.

The Senate plan calls for $3.67 billion in transportation spending over the next two years, while the House put that figure at $3.92 billion. The Senate version also eliminates a proposed 1.5 percent hike in the gas tax.