President Trump plans to visit Kentucky this week to discuss infrastructure, and there’s no better place to highlight all the elements of the nation’s aging infrastructure than right here in the Bluegrass State. Historically, Kentucky has focused much of its economic development strategy around its location and leveraging the state’s roads, rivers and runways, not to mention low-cost electricity, to attract and retain businesses.
Dozens of firms have expressed interest in the proposed Capital Plaza Tower public-private partnership in Frankfort.
Many county judges, attorneys and law enforcement officials across Kentucky are watching Madison County, where local leaders hope to form a public-private partnership to solve a growing drug problem that plagues many areas. If successful, it would be the state’s first local P3 project since legislation was passed last year governing P3 deals.
That desire to find a better option is why we sought to bring public-private partnerships to Kentucky. In the enduring debate of which can do a job better — government or business — we asked: Why can’t it be both?
The need for major investments in public infrastructure is unquestioned. The 2017 Infrastructure Grade Card says that our nation’s built environment – its public streets and highways, schools and parks, water and sewer facilities – deserves a dismal D+. At this point, we’re an estimated $4.59 trillion behind.
In Kentucky, our schools need an estimated $453 million of capital improvements. More than 4,000 bridges and overpasses – rated as deficient or functionally obsolete – need repair or replacement. And water and sewer systems in communities across the Commonwealth need a staggering $12.44 billion in improvements.
Don Parkinson has become the point man for public-private partnerships for Gov. Matt Bevin’s administration. Parkinson, secretary of the Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet, talks about how P3s can support the state’s $13 billion tourism industry.
If you’ve traveled recently across the Commonwealth – or across the country – you’ve probably seen them. Construction workers. Cranes and bulldozers. New buildings and burgeoning developments. It’s the signs of progress.
Kentucky’s new P3 law went into effect in 2016 and was updated during the 2017 legislation, providing a distinct delivery method for capital projects, services, and major transportation infrastructure.
Kentucky Sen. Max Wise has been one of the strongest advocates for passage of legislation to allow public-private partnerships in Kentucky. He was a sponsor of the original legislation that passed in 2016 and helped drive legislation in 2017 to update the Commonwealth’s P3 laws.
For over 50 years now, countless vehicles have traveled from Northern Kentucky into Ohio, and vice versa, on the Brent Spence Bridge. Whether to transport goods, travel or engage in commerce, Brent Spence has been heavily utilized over the years, and this traffic has taken its toll. Currently operating at nearly three times what it was designed to carry, a new bridge is essential, yet this project has repeatedly been kicked to the curb. However, thanks to the current administration, the needs of Northern Kentucky, Greater Cincinnati and the entire Midwest could soon be placed near the front of the line in Washington, D.C.