Left Behind

This week has been a busy one. I started in Bowling Green on Monday, followed by Frankfort on Tuesday, then to Madisonville on Wednesday, then to Harlan yesterday.

I've had the pleasure of talking to so many people about infrastructure and how important it is to their everyday life - and the impact it has on their local community and the state.

From Madisonville to Harlan - they get it. They all want better access - whether it is public transit or roads and bridges or airports - everyone wants to be connected.

Everyone is afraid of being left behind.

And it is not an unfounded fear when it comes to transportation - because we find ourselves behind already.

Every local community in the state is already facing transportation challenges today that prevent them from focusing on improvements that increase their ability to succeed in the future.

Just this morning, I was emailed a notice about a new weight restriction that was just placed on a bridge in West Kentucky. The maximum weight now cannot exceed 8 tons. That means school buses, fire trucks, ambulances, dump trucks, or anything else like a large tractor can no longer cross that bridge. At best, the restriction will be an inconvenience for regular users. At worst - it could mean that an emergency responder could not get to a residence quickly enough to put out a fire or save a life. But the reality is that some of the more than 4,000 vehicles that use this bridge everyday will have to find another route.

KYTC is doing all they can to address this - they will make emergency repairs and fix the deterioration that was found by their inspection team. They are not at fault for this situation.

In fact, the only fault is that there is not enough money to have already repaired or replaced this bridge - and the other 1,100 that are structurally deficient; resurfaced the more than 3,700 miles that need to be resurfaced; completed all the needed pavement improvements at the GA Airports; realigned high volume rail crossings; replaced the aging transit fleet; and improved access at all the ports so we can look to the future.

We have got to do more in this state for transportation.

If not, our state and the 4.4 million people in it, will fall behind as our infrastructure falls apart.