Funding for the state's transportation system has hit a wall and most likely will be high on the list of discussions at the January legislative session in Frankfort. Where to find more money to continue to provide a safe, reliable transportation network for Kentuckians and those who travel through the Bluegrass state has become something that can no longer be ignored.

A lot of the funding collected and utilized by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet is generated through the state's gas tax. Unfortunately, plummeting fuel prices have caused a severe loss in the necessary funding. However, the idea of raising gas tax alone may not be the answer.

Judge Executive Logan Chick said this important issue has affected all counties in the state and what each receives annually in road aid funding.

This was a topic of conversation at the Kentucky County Judges Association meeting at the KACo conference a few weeks ago, said Chick, adding Logan County has already missed out on close to $1 million dollars over the past few years due to the fall in gas prices thus passing on a shortage in funding for transportation.

"Rep. Jason Petrie told me this was something that would have to be addressed at the next session," said Chick. "We are getting further and further behind. Logan County is blessed enough that we have been able to keep our road fund up to some amount. There are some counties, however, this is devastating. Especially to those who don't have a reserve."

Chick said he took some money out last year from the general fund to compensate the loss from the state. This mixed with magistrates not spending as much and having a carryover into the 2018-2019 fiscal year supplies a total of $1,743,970 to use if needed on the roads and bridges locally.

A few days after the conference, Chick said he received a resolution asking the fiscal court to sign in support an initiative addressing the modernization of Kentucky's transportation funding mechanisms to address transportation funding needs throughout the Commonwealth. Members of the Logan County Fiscal Court did not sign it.

By signing the resolution it says that the Logan County Fiscal Court supports legislation to modernize Kentucky's transportation funding mechanisms to increase existing sources of funding to generate revenues needed for maintenance and construction on all modes of transportation.

And furthermore, the body strongly encourages the Kentucky General Assembly to act as soon as possible to address all of Kentucky's transportation funding needs to avoid further erosion of the transportation network.

Some, including Logan County Magistrate Thomas Bouldin, said although he understands the need to find more funding, the resolution is vague and doesn't say where it's going to come from.

"Are they going to get it from the teacher's retirement? Where will the money come from? This resolution doesn't specify and I would hate for someone to wave this resolution in front of somebody and say Logan County supports this," said Bouldin.

"I can understand them not passing the resolution the way it was worded," said Judge Chick. "What are we supporting? I questioned it myself. It doesn't address how the court supports how they are doing it."

According to the resolution, Kentucky has an interconnected, multi-modal transportation network that contains 57 airports, 2,600 freight rail miles, 8 operating public riverports, a statewide transit network, more than 14,000 bridges, and nearly 80,000 center-line miles of roadway.

Safe and efficient transportation is deemed an essential public service provided to all Kentucky communities.

All Kentucky communities depend on a safe, reliable transportation network to enhance economic development opportunities and depend on the transportation network for access to education, health care, employment, and other basic necessities.

According to the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, Kentucky's road fund requires an additional $500 million per year to address current maintenance and construction needs.

Kentucky's airports, railroads, riverports, and transit system required sustained, adequate investments for maintenance and improvements.

"This is something that will have to be talked about, otherwise we will start to see the effects in our bridges and on our roads," said Judge Chick. "You can already tell it on the roads you are driving on. If we (Kentucky) is going to keep our transportation system up, we are going to have to find some more money."