In a letter sent to the Kentucky congressional delegation on May 15, the Kentucky Chamber urged federal policymakers to adopt a comprehensive infrastructure plan that includes raising the gas tax, encouraging the use of public-private partnerships, and streamlining permits for transportation projects.

The letter referenced Kentucky's economic growth due to policies endorsed by the Chamber at the federal and state levels and the need to support this growth and future growth with investment in infrastructure.

In the letter, Kentucky Chamber President and CEO Dave Adkisson noted Kentucky's need for increased transportation funding and the critical role infrastructure plays in Kentucky's economy.

Adkisson wrote:

"The Kentucky business community urges you to take action to improve the Commonwealth's infrastructure. A foundation of our economy, infrastructure is key to our state and nation fully realizing their economic potential. We call on Congress to adopt a comprehensive infrastructure plan that includes raising the gas tax, encourages the use of public-private partnerships, and streamlines permits for transportation projects.

"Kentucky has experienced much economic growth in the past years. Pro-growth policies endorsed by the Chamber at the federal and state levels have fueled the expansion of industry and creation of jobs in the Commonwealth. It is imperative we support this growth and encourage continued expansion with investment in our infrastructure.

"Although Kentucky has identified more than $8 billion in projects as priorities, they have not been funded. Consequently, our state continues to receive poor grades on transportation infrastructure on the American Infrastructure Report Card. These projects include new bridges connecting Kentucky to Ohio and Indiana - projects that are very much in need of federal funds.

"Increased revenue for transportation infrastructure is difficult, if not impossible, to find without increasing the gas tax, which has not been raised for more than a quarter of a century. During that time, 42 states have increased their state gas taxes through bipartisan support. Without an increase in the federal gas tax, Kentucky and other states will experience a loss of federal funds.

"Kentucky's transportation infrastructure moves $500 billion worth of goods annually and supports the Commonwealth's workforce. The Kentucky business community is doing its part to advance increased infrastructure funding at the state level, but we believe this is something Congress must take up in this 2019 session.

"The time to build is now," Adkisson concluded.

Dave Adkisson is president and CEO of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce. This column was co-written by Dr. Aaron Thompson, president of the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education.

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