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Newport, Bellevue, Dayton, Woodlawn Mayors: Restore Our Road Funds

The mayors of Newport, Bellevue, Dayton, and Woodlawn have issued a joint statement urging the General Assembly to restore their road funds.

While House Bill 237 passed the Kentucky House of Representatives with funding in place for critical projects in the Campbell County cities, the State Senate passed a version that placed many projects into the state's 6-year plan instead of the 2-year plan.

According to Senate Transportation Chair Ernie Harris, R-Crestwood, the Senate version of the bill cut or moved some projects to the six-year Road Plan to reduce “over programming” and eliminate the need for a motor fuels tax increase.

The Senate passed the bill 28-0 with ten members passing on the vote.

"We are appalled and disappointed that the Kentucky Senate has chosen to disregard our needs," wrote Mayors Jerry Peluso of Newport, Ed Riehl of Bellevue, Ken Rankle of Dayton, and Ronald Barth of Woodlawn in the joint statement. "For many reasons, especially the safety of our citizens, we the undersigned implore the members of the Transportation Budget Conference Committee, especially Senator Katie Stine (R-Southgate and the Senate's President Pro Tem), to recognize the safety needs in our cities and fund the city projects as stipulated in the House of Representatives' budget."

What's at stake is $1 million for street work in Newport, $1 million for work on Lincoln Avenue in Bellevue, $500,000 for road work in Dayton, and $200,000 for road work in Woodlawn.

The conference committee is ironing out discrepancies in the recommended budgets approved by both chambers of the General Assembly.

"Unfortunately, the road project money for our district was left out of the Senate budget but I am working and hoping it will be put back in the final budget. Wish me luck," wrote State Rep. Dennis Keene, who represents the cities, on Facebook. "I wish to thank all the mayors who wrote letters of support for our district's road plan."

Jack Moreland, president of Southbank Partners which works closely with several of Northern Kentucky's river cities on economic development projects, said he does not expect the conference committee to reach an agreement until the general budget is also resolved. That budget is also in a conference committee.

"The (mayors') resolution was designed to encourage the Senate to adopt the House portion of the budget which would reflect those projects," Moreland said.

Written by Michael Monks, editor & publisher of The River City News

Photo: Licking Pike in Newport/RCN