KBT's current Chair Clint Goodin of Vaughn & Melton is a pretty smart guy. We were having a conversation the other day when Clint said, "We can't get so comfortable and decadent that we're no longer hungry."
Brilliantly stated Clint - and incredibly true.
As a state, we've worked hard to build an incredible, multi-modal infrastructure that connects our state to the rest of the country and the rest of the world. Our infrastructure supports Kentucky's manufacturing community, agricultural community, mining and mineral community, and our general population by providing safe, dependable transportation alternatives so they can move their goods - more than $27 billion worth in 2014 - to the open marketplace.
Our transportation network is remarkable. We've got it all. We can move anyone and anything.
The transportation network is so remarkable that we've all gotten pretty comfortable. So comfortable that many of us take the infrastructure we have now for granted. Most of us just assume that the road in front of our house will always be well maintained and easily traveled. We assume that the airport will continue to operate as it always has and that the freight will always be able to be delivered on time. We assume that since everything seems okay today that it will all be okay tomorrow.
We tend to think that we don't have to contribute anything at all and we'll still maintain our status quo. We cease to be hungry.
What happens when we aren't hungry?
We miss opportunities. We don't take risks that could have positive outcomes. We don't take pro-active steps to ensure that future generations can succeed. We stop looking at alternative ways to do things - or pay for things - because we think we're just fine the way we are.
But we can't do that.
Transportation is too important for all of us not to always be hungry. We will have to continue looking for ways to fund improvements. At some point, we'll have to consider alternative funding mechanisms like Public-Private Partnerships and LIFT (Local Investments for Transformation) to pay for the improvements we need.
We have to look at the impact CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) standards will have on our current funding mechanism. We have to discuss how we assess alternative fuel vehicles and hybrids so they pay their fair share.
We have to get hungry - so our future generations don't find themselves starving to death.