Billions could come to Kentucky from infrastructure bill

The $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill passed in the U.S. Senate on Tuesday offers billions of dollars for Kentucky to – among other things – build roads, reclaim previously used lands and extend broadband internet access. That’s according to a statement issued by Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell after the 69-30 vote.

McConnell, who voted for the bill, noted the bill includes $4.6 million to build or repair roads and bridges across the state. Another $436 million would be available to fund work on bridges as well, and the package includes a grant program proposed by U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, that could fund the construction of a new bridge to ease the load on the Brent Spence Bridge, the main artery connecting Cincinnati to its northern Kentucky suburbs.

“I was proud to support today’s historic bipartisan infrastructure deal and prove that both sides of the political aisle can still come together around commonsense solutions,” McConnell said. “By promoting sensible, collaborative legislation, we have shown that the Senate still works as an institution.”

The state also stands to benefit from receiving a share of $11.2 billion in funding to restore older abandoned mine properties and a portion of the $4.7 billion allotted for reclaiming abandoned oil and gas wells.

McConnell said the state has the third-most abandoned mine land and the fourth-most abandoned wells.

At a minimum, Kentucky will receive $100 million to build out broadband infrastructure to underserved and unserved areas, and local communities and state organizations will be eligible to compete for $2 billion in Department of Agriculture funding to extend broadband service in rural areas.

Kentucky’s other senator, Republican Rand Paul, voted against the bill.

In a video statement last week, the former Republican presidential candidate said he was happy to see domestic infrastructure projects come up for a vote. However, he opposed the “budgetary gimmicks” he claimed proponents used to hide debt being used to pay for the projects.

“It’s not the way we ought to be doing this,” he said. “We should be paying for this bill and doing it by cutting waste and excessive spending from other parts of the budget.”

The House of Representatives now will take up the plan. In a statement after the Senate vote, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-California, said the Senate’s plan helps the middle class but hinted that her chamber may make some changes.

“The House will continue to work with the Senate to ensure that our priorities for the people are included in the final infrastructure and reconciliation packages, in a way that is resilient and will build back better,” said Pelosi, making a reference to President Biden’s economic recovery agenda.

View original post