Interim committee meetings begin in northern Kentucky
Lawmakers met in Kenton County at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center to discuss many county-related issues, including an update on the Brent Spence Bridge, the regional driver license model, motor vehicle licensing fees, etc.
The Interim Joint Committee on Transportation heard testimony from Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana (OKI) Regional Council of Governments CEO Mark Policinski and Deputy Transportation Cabinet Secretary Mike Hancock. Both stressed the importance of infrastructure improvements to the fast growing Northern Kentucky region. Approximately 3 percent of the country’s annual gross domestic product crosses the Brent Spence Bridge each year.
In May, Kentucky and Ohio submitted a request for $1.66 billion in federal funding for the Brent Spence Corridor Project. The total cost of the project is estimated at $2.77 billion. During the 2022 session, lawmakers allocated $250 million for matching funds for major transportation projects, including the Brent Spence and I-69 bridges.
The project will provide a companion bridge next to the existing Brent Spence Bridge. Kentucky and Ohio will split the project's cost, and both governors stated this funding model would allow the new bridge to be built without tolls.
Regional Driver License Model
Sarah Jackson, the REAL ID Project Manager for the Transportation Cabinet, provided an update on regional driver licensing. Jackson said that four additional regional offices will be opening in June including locations in Pikeville, London, Pineville and an additional location in Lexington. Only 13 circuit court clerks are processing driver's licenses, and Jackson stated these offices will be transitioned by the end of the month to the regional model.
Motor Vehicle License Fee
During the Interim Joint Committee on Banking and Insurance, President and CEO of Northern Kentucky Tri-ED Lee Crume testified on legislation passed during the 2022 session which updated the local license fees for motor vehicle sharing and rentals. The Motor Vehicle License Fee (MVLF) was established in 1994 to allow local governments to levy up to a 3 percent fee on car rentals.
House Bill 8 expanded the MVLF to include car-sharing platforms and transportation network companies (Uber and Lyft). Crume stated that the expansion should significantly increase revenues generated by the fee. He also explained that these fees are levied on discretionary spending items and a large portion of the fees are paid by out-of-state visitors.
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