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Senate Committee Approves P3s, Restores Bridge Funding but Keeps Toll Ban

The Kentucky Senate Transportation Committee approved a measure Wednesday that would provide oversight and regulations to public-private partnerships, so-called P3s, in the Commonwealth.

House Bill 407, sponsored by Rep. Leslie Combs (D-Pikeville) and House Majority Caucus Chair Sannie Overly (D-Paris) would allow state and local governments to partner with private companies to complete infrastructure, transportation and other projects. Supporters of the measure say it would allow government agencies to consider projects that wouldn’t be financially feasible without such a partnership.

A change made in the committee would limit P3 highway projects to $100 million.

“I think that we will see a lot of wonderful projects over our tenure here that will come out of this new coalition,” said Senate Majority Whip Brandon Smith (R-Hazard).

The committee also restored $37 million in state funds for the Brent Spence Bridge project, stripped by a House committee last week after the possibility of using P3 legislation to use tolls to fund the $2.6 billion project was removed by an amendment filed by Covington Democrat Arnold Simpson.

That $37 million is in addition to $23 million previously earmarked for the project by the federal government, for a total of $60 million to be used for planning and design work.

The bill now goes to the full Senate for further action.

From the Legislative Research Commission