Governor Matt Bevin recently announced that two essential road aid programs – both housed in the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet’s (KYTC) Department of Rural and Municipal Aid – will continue to operate in Fiscal Year 2017.
The Flex Funds and 80/20 Bridge Replacement programs will be available to local officials over the next fiscal year. These programs are designed to give local governments the flexibility to use state funds for county road projects.
“Providing a safe and reliable transportation network is a top priority of our administration. However, as costs and demands rise, local governments are struggling with the increased financial burden,” said Gov. Bevin. “Having control of these crucial funds will help local communities across the Commonwealth preserve, maintain and repair Kentucky’s aging infrastructure.”
The news comes as a relief to local officials who are currently addressing costly road maintenance issues while operating on limited budgets. Some of those issues include snow and ice removal, pothole patching, bridge repair and roadway resurfacing.
Started in 2009, the Flex Funds program authorized local governments to repair county roads by using a portion of the motor fuels tax receipts allocated to the Rural Secondary Program. Flex funds are not additional revenue, but they give local governments the flexibility to shift more state dollars to fund county and city road projects. Before the Flex Funds program was initiated, local governments could only use traditional revenue sharing funds such as county road and municipal road aid for those projects.
In order to spend flex funds, the Department of Rural and Municipal Aid must approve a county’s list of recommended projects. KYTC will then disburse funding once numerous conditions and qualifications are met.
80/20 Bridge Replacement Program
Under Gov. Bevin’s directive, local governments will also be able to utilize the Cabinet’s 80/20 Bridge Replacement program.
In 2010, KYTC allowed local governments to use emergency road aid funds for the purpose of repairing or constructing new bridges on the county road system. The fund does not allow counties to construct new bridges where one did not exist.
Counties now have the ability to access up to $80,000 per year from this account to pay 80 percent of the overall share of the county road fund dollars. A county can carry over the $80,000 for up to three years, whereby in the third year the county could access $240,000 of funds to pay 80 percent of the cost to repair one or more bridges on county roads. The county typically matches the other 20 percent of funding.
KYTC retains the authority to approve each bridge project.