In 1992, I was a student in Mr. Worley's AP History Class at Laurel County High School. Mr. Worley was a tough, but respected teacher. He is so respected that earlier this week he was inducted into Kentucky's Teacher Hall of Fame.
One sunny day, while our class was thinking about other things, Mr. Worley informed us that our generation was the first one that was not expected to do as well as the generation before us. Meaning that our incomes would rise at a slower rate and there would be fewer employment opportunities than previous generations.
I don't think Mr. Worley was trying to be a doomsday soothsayer, but was rather drawing our attention to the fact that our lives could change - and not in a positive way - in the future.
When Mr. Worley said this back in 1992, I didn't think much of it. As I've matured his comments have come back to me - and I've found myself often wondering why.
If we knew back in 1992 that our citizens were going to experience negative change, why didn't someone doing something then to change it? Why don't we make decisions that improve the quality of life and opportunities available for future generations to come?
Yesterday afternoon, I saw several of our Legislators take steps to do just that.
The Senate Committee on Economic Development, Tourism, and Labor Chaired by Senator Alice Forgy (R-12) heard and passed HB 309 - the public private partnership or P3 bill sponsored by Rep. Leslie Combs (D-94). Rep. Combs was joined by Senator Max Wise (R-16) who sponsored P-3 legislation in the Senate. Mr. Warren Rogers of the W. Rogers Company in Lexington, Mr. JD Chaney of the Kentucky League of Cities, Mr. Dave Adkisson of the State Chamber, and I all spoke in favor of the bill.
There was some heated opposition to the bill, but after much thoughtful discussion, the bill did pass the committee and will now move to the Senate floor where it may be heard next week.
This legislation is a positive step to ensure that our state is able to finance major transportation projects - projects that are more than $100 million in total cost.
P3 legislation will have a positive impact everyone of us - those in the transportation industry as well as the citizens that depend on the services provided by the industry.
If you read the article above, you know that funding for transportation projects is not expected to increase in the future. And that's not just for our roadways. We need increased funding for our airports, our riverports, our railroads and our transit services.
Our transportation network does more than just provide a way for us to get to and from our home, school and work. It provides a safe, reliable way for our manufacturers, agriculture producers, and miners to move freight. The more dependable our transportation network is, the more likely our manufacturers, agriculture producers, and our aggregate producers will continue to use it. The more we make and grow and mine - the more jobs we have available. The more jobs we have available means that the generations that follow will have more access - not less - to employment and opportunity.
Building transportation infrastructure often provides an immediate result - but it also provides more and more opportunities for generations to come. As a parent, I never want my children to think that there isn't hope for their future. I never want them to think they won't have the same access to employment and education that I've had.
I appreciate all the members of the Legislature who've supported public private partnerships - providing an opportunity for my family and my state in the future.