Committee vote on road plan, gas tax freeze to come this afternoon

The House Appropriations and Revenue Committee will vote this afternoon on a $1.2 billion road plan that has been crafted by House and Senate leaders over the past three weeks along with a proposal to freeze the state’s motor fuels tax.

The tax freeze will allow the state to borrow about $400 million to help fund the road plan that also relies on $400 million in federal stimulus dollars.

Included in the package is $35.6 million through the end of 2010 to begin construction of the U.S. 60 bypass extension in Owensboro, according to local lawmakers.

“We’ve got money in there to do the entire project over the six-year (road) plan,” Rep. Tommy Thompson, a Philpot Democrat, said Thursday afternoon about the U.S. 60 bypass extension. “The key money is to do that first leg in there right away and we got federal stimulus for that.”

House Speaker Greg Stumbo said after a House Democratic caucus meeting during which the plan was laid out for members that most of the projects in the plan were existing projects with very few new projects added.

“We are advancing existing projects,” said Stumbo, a Presontonsburg Democrat.

The inclusion of the U.S. 60 bypass extension project, which will be part of the expansion of U.S. 231 between Interstate 64 in southern Indiana and Interstate 65 in Kentucky, was applauded by Owensboro Mayor Ron Payne.

“I think that project is going to just pay tremendous dividends to this community in the future,” Payne said. “We are just sending really strong signals out of this community that Owensboro is alive and well and progressing.”

Rep. Jim Glenn, an Owensboro Democrat, said movement on the project will be a boost for the local economy.

“All of this adds dollars to the community,” Glenn said about Daviess County’s share of projects.

Read the Messenger-Inquirer Friday for the complete story.


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