Policies

Kentucky's transportation infrastructure impacts our state's economy and every individual Kentuckian's quality of life. In order to promote economic growth and improved quality of life, KBT advocates for a safe, sustainable transportation infrastructure.

KBT Committees develop comprehensive legislative policy statements to address issues that impact safety and funding for Kentucky's transportation infrastructure. These policy statements serve as the foundation for positions on Legislative proposals that impact Kentucky's transportation infrastructure.

KBT Legislative Policies  |  General Assembly 2019

Air Transportation

Kentucky’s transportation infrastructure includes 57 airports that move more than 10 million passengers and nearly 6 million tons of freight each year. These 52 General Aviation Airports and 6 Commercial Airports provide access from Kentucky to the rest of the entire world.

Improvements at Kentucky’s commercial airports are paid for with funding from a variety of sources. Commercial airports depend on a mixture of federal funds and funds obtained through charges for services provided. General Aviation airports depend on limited federal funds, state funds derived from the sales tax on aviation fuels, and funds obtained through charges for the services they provide. KBT members feel strongly that any revenues generated by aviation in Kentucky should be reinvested in Kentucky’s aviation infrastructure.

In order to continue to plan for and make necessary improvements to Kentucky’s airports, KBT urges the Kentucky General Assembly to continue to apply the funds received from the sales tax on jet fuels as prescribed in KRS 183.525.

KBT urges the Kentucky General Assembly to create a multi-modal transportation fund so the Commonwealth can maintain, enhance, and improve our multi-modal transportation network.

All of Kentucky’s airports depend on funding derived from the Federal Aviation Administration. KBT urges Congress to pass a multi-year Federal Aviation Administration Authorization that:

  • Includes no less than $3.2 billion in Airport Improvement Program (AIP) funding. This level of funding maintains current passenger entitlements as prescribed in the FAA’s AIP Handbook.
  • Increases the per passenger entitlement to ensure revenues generated in Kentucky are reinvested in Kentucky’s commercial airports.
  • Increases the funding available through the Airport Improvement Program for all of Kentucky’s airports.
  • Modernizes the passenger facility charge (PFC) and reduces federal regulatory restrictions on revenues generated by PFC.

Federal Update (2.15.19 FAA is now fully funded)

  • AIP: Funds AIP at $3.35bn annually until 2023
  • AIP/Use: Makes eligible as an AIP project the procurement and installation of CCTV systems in public areas/Terminal exteriors
  • AIP/Grant Assurances: Applies qualified-based selection criteria to all aspects of any project using AIP funds for any portion of the project
  • AIP/Grant Assurances: Extends the competition disclosure requirements for medium-hub airports until 2023
  • AIP/Grant Assurances: Exempts “the interim compatible recreational” use of airport land from federal restriction under certain conditions
  • PFC: Does not address $4.50 PFC cap but allows imposition of a $4.50 PFC under the same standards as a $3.00 or lower PFC; streamlines process for using PFCs under the same standards as used at non-hub airports
  • PFC: Requires FAA to publish a final rule in six months on the use of PFCs for intermodal access projects
  • PFC/Airport Infrastructure: Requires DOT to engage an independent nonprofit to study and make recommendations about airport infrastructure needs given existing financial resources at commercial service airports
  • AIP/PFC Eligibility: Revises the definition of “airport development” to include use of funds for certain energy equipment (energy storage projects) and low-emission vehicles
  • Supplemental Discretionary Funds: Sets up a new discretionary grant program within DOT for any-size airport with an 80% federal share but does not specify funding for the program
  • Mothers’ Rooms: Requires medium-hub airports to provide “a lactation area in the sterile area of each passenger terminal building of the airport”
  • Technology Usage: Requires FAA to study technology developed by international companies that have been installed in American airports/within the American aviation system
  • Smart Airports: Urges FAA/DOT to produce a smart airports initiative focusing “on creating a more consumer-friendly and digitally connected airport experience”
  • Airfield Markings: Requires the FAA to study the installation and durability of Type III and Type glass beads applied to critical airfield markings (independent studies at select airports)
  • FAA Air Traffic Systems: Allows airports to transfer eligible air traffic systems or equipment if AIP funds were used to purchase the original system
  • FAA Use of Space at an Airport: Clarifies that the FAA may not require an airport to provide property, buildings, utilities, etc. without adequate compensation
  • Master Plan: Clarifies that airports must include a recycling plan in their Master Plan
  • Master Plan: Requires DOT to evaluate airports’ role in medical emergencies/evacuations and disaster preparedness as part of criteria to evaluate Master Plan
  • Airport DBE Programs: Reinforces measures to encourage compliance and reporting on airport minority and disadvantaged business programs, including tracking/reporting of complaints
  • Airport Privatization Program: Removes the cap of 10 airports participating in the privatization program and allows FAA to consider projects in which only part of a facility is privatized
  • FAA Regulation of Non-Aeronautical Land Use: Limits the FAA’s role in approving the disposal, use, or leasing of non-airfield property, including facilities on that land and any portion of land/facilities purchased without federal funding (except to ensure safe aircraft operations, ensure receipt of FMV for land, and ensure airports do not pay more than FMV for land/facilities)

Highways|Local Streets and Roads

Kentucky’s transportation infrastructure contains more than 80,000 miles of roadway and 14,000 bridges that connect our citizens and Kentucky-based companies to the rest of the world. Not only do these existing roads and bridges require continued maintenance, they require improvements so they can better serve the population. New construction of roads and bridges is also needed to help ensure the safe movement of our citizens and efficient movement of goods.

Kentucky’s road and bridge improvements are paid for using Road Fund revenue. Since 2015, annual revenues have decreased by more than $180,000,000. In addition, in 2020, Kentucky will exhaust existing federal toll credits and will need to use $100,000,000 per year to meet the federal matching requirements, money that would otherwise be available for state-funded projects. In order to continue to improve, maintain, and construct new roads, Kentucky’s Road Fund must be protected and increasing revenues for the future must be secured.

Possible solutions include:

  • Removing non-construction and non-maintenance related activities from the Kentucky Road Fund
  • Adjusting all current user fees, including the motor fuels tax rate, to compensate for declines in revenue due to decreases in the average wholesale price of fuel, mandated fuel efficiency standards (CAFÉ), and inflation
  • Allowing the use of State Tax Increment Financing for transportation and other infrastructure projects
  • Establishing an equitable fee for low fuel consumption vehicles similar to that for LNG vehicles.
  • Transition to usage-based revenue source from the present fuel consumption revenue source.

Investment in infrastructure creates robust return on investment and ensures future economic growth. In order to ensure that adequate revenues are available to enhance, maintain, and improve Kentucky’s roads and bridges, KBT urges the General Assembly to restore the Road Fund revenues lost since 2015, adjust revenues to offset the impending loss of toll credits, and implement a user fee system for low consumption vehicles to provide a sustainable funding stream for the future and to fund the $500 Million additional needed projects identified in the SHIFT program by KYTC. Further, KBT encourages indexing this revenue by tying it to the Construction Cost Index in order to provide a durable revenue source for the future.

Federal Policy

KBT urges Congress to enact a fully funded, multi-year transportation reauthorization bill with increased federal funding for highways and roads.

(above adopted by board of directors on 1.16.19)

Public Transit

A strong public transit network is an essential part of a strong economy. Transit connects Kentucky’s citizens to work, school, health care facilities, and other basic human needs regardless of location. Nearly 30 million trips are taken each year utilizing Kentucky’s urban and rural transit network. More than one half of these trips are related to employment.

KBT urges the Kentucky General Assembly to create a multi-modal transportation fund that provides a dedicated, sufficient, and reliable revenue source to match federal funds, operate, maintain and upgrade facilities, purchase equipment, and to provide necessary transportation services to all Kentucky’s citizens including hard working Kentucky taxpayers, Veterans, students, older adults, disabled Kentuckians, and those without access to private transportation.

Rail

Kentucky’s freight railroads cover more than 2,500 freight rail miles, connecting our Commonwealth to the rest of the global marketplace. Kentucky’s 13 freight rail lines move Kentucky mined materials, Kentucky manufactured automobiles, Kentucky grown agricultural products, and a variety of other goods. Rail lines must be regularly maintained and improved to continue to safely and reliably serve Kentucky’s manufacturers, miners, and agricultural producers.

KBT urges the General Assembly to create a multi-modal transportation fund that provides reliable revenues so Kentucky’s rail crossings are adequately maintained and continually improved.

KBT urges the General Assembly to maintain existing tax credits and exemptions that help ensure Kentucky’s rail infrastructure can be continually maintained and improved to provide reliable, efficient, safe freight movement throughout Kentucky.

Federal

Kentucky’s railroads also depend on a variety of federal grant programs and tax credits that help offset the costs of major improvements. KBT urges Congress to continue competitive grant programs like BUILD and INFRA and to establish a permanent 45G tax credit for short line railroads to provide opportunities for railroads to make investments in their rail lines.

Waterways/Riverports

Kentucky is bordered by more than 1,200 miles of navigable inland waterways that are used to transport large quantities of freight in an environmentally conscious manner. 14 locks and dams are placed along the inland river system, assisting in the safe navigation of water borne vessels. These locks and dams require continued maintenance, improvements, and enhancements to ensure the safe, efficient movement of freight along our inland river system.

KBT urges Congress to regularly pass the Water Resources Redevelopment Act to authorize improvements, maintenance, and enhancements to Kentucky’s inland river infrastructure.

Kentucky’s public Riverports provide an access to the marine highway and the rest of the world. These public riverports require regular maintenance to safely and efficiently serve their customers.

KBT urges the General Assembly to create a multi-modal transportation fund to ensure funds are available to maintain and improve our public riverport facilities.

KBT Legislative Policies were adopted by the KBT Board of Directors in September 2018 unless otherwise noted.