Millions in state funding allocated for Laurel County

Apr. 17—With the support of Sen. Brandon Storm, R-London, the state will spend millions of dollars over the next two years focused on local law enforcement, economic growth, local projects, upgrades, and road repairs benefiting Laurel County.

As a provision of House Bill (HB) 1, $1 million will assist in the development of the new London Laurel County Regional Fairgrounds project. The bill leverages Kentucky's $3.7 billion budget reserve trust — resulting from nearly a decade of conservative budgeting and fiscal responsibility — to make transformative one-time investments.

As a result of Senate Bill 91, which included fixes, modifications and additions to various budget-related bills, $1 million was awarded to the City of London for the City Plaza project, which will include construction of a new 911 dispatch telecommunication center and a new city police department as well as upgrades to the community center and city hall.

Included in the state's two-year road plan, HB 266, Storm helped secure over $130.7 million for planning, designing, obtaining right-of-way, utility work, and construction of various projects in the county, including

—$46.64 million to reduce congestion and improve connectivity on US 25 from KY Highway 1006 to KY Highway 192 Bypass and improve KY Highway 229 from the new connector north to KY Highway 192. This project is receiving general fund dollars as a result of the Senate's propose leveraging of $450 million from the BRTF to the state's two-year road plan specifically for high-growth regions,

—$26.5 million to widen Interstate 75/US Highway 25 East north of Corbin in Laurel County to mile point 24 in Whitley County,

—$9.8 million for reconstruction and widening of an existing route of US Highway 25, on alignment, from mile point 0 to 9.03,

—$7 million to widen KY Highway 192 from Mallard Drive to Esquire Lane to address horizontal and vertical alignment as needed (mile point 16.61 to 19.08),

—$6.06 million will support two pavement management and resurfacing projects in the county

Also included in HB 266 was $6 million in road funds to match a potential federal grant to widen the Hal Rogers Parkway from London to Hazard. The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet is applying for a $25 million planning grant.

House Joint Resolution (HJR) 91 includes scheduled projects and anticipated needs for the remaining four years of the six-year highway construction plan. Some projects listed include:

—$6,750,000 to improve Rudy Bear Road and KY 3007 from KY 80 South to KY 3432 West of I-75.

—$193,752 in Fiscal Year 2029 for a bridge project on KY 490 at Rockcastle River.

—$1,122,000 in FY2030 for a bridge project on KY 472 at the South Fork of the Rockcastle River.

—$670,956 in FY2030 for a bridge project on KY 552 at Little Laurel River.

—$3,211,514 in FY2030 to address Hal Rogers/Daniel Boone Parkway between milepoints 4.169 and 8.8.

—$2 million to improve the geometrics of a curve, widen a drainage structure, and provide turn lanes to Johnson Elementary School on KY 638.

—$12 million to widen KY 192 from Mallard Drive to Esquire Lane.

HJR 92 provides $53,000 to support a resurfacing of Hoskins Lane.

"I'm very excited to see these improvements come to Laurel County and am excited to see the great results of investments in our fairgrounds and city police," Storm said. "I want to thank London Tourism and Parks, Laurel County Tourism, the Laurel County Fiscal Court, the City of London and our local law enforcement for their respective roles in advocating for this funding. It's a true pleasure to represent them and Laurel County. I think it's fitting that during National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week, we are able to secure funding to benefit our local law enforcement efforts with a dispatch center and police department.

"The funding to improve our local roads will play a big role in safer travel and commutes and will improve the flow of commerce," he added. "With the economic growth we are seeing here in London and Laurel County, we will need our local infrastructure to be prepared to support it. The significance of the Senate's inclusion of $450 million from the budget reserve trust fund for the road plan cannot be understated. It will go a long way in making critical road, bridge and highway upgrades possible throughout the commonwealth."