Kentucky State Rep. Ralph Alvarado

Kentucky State Rep. Ralph Alvarado, R-Winchester, shares his thoughts on the governor’s role in the legislative process.

(The Center Square) – Organizations representing Kentucky cities and counties want lawmakers to pass a gas tax increase when they return to session in January.

The Kentucky Association of Counties and Kentucky League of Cities pushed for the gas tax hike during a presentation Tuesday before the Interim Joint Committee on Local Government. They hope the increase will help improve roads and bridges throughout the state.

“In our members poll, a majority of them told us that more than 40% of the county roads are in need of moderate to significant repair and a quarter of our members said that more than 60% of their roads needed repair,” Madison County Judge-Executive and KACo President Reagan Taylor said.

Currently, Kentuckians pay a 26-cent state tax and an 18.4-cent federal tax at the pump. The group also pushed for fees for electric vehicles. Last session, a bill that would increase the gas tax 9 cents, as well as increase registration fees and impose fees on electric vehicles, did not pass.

Taylor said the state’s gas tax revenues have been dropping in recent years.

Kentucky League of Cities President and London Mayor Tony Rudder also pushed for the increase.

“The success of our state is tied to the success of our local communities,” Rudder said. “They depend on our infrastructure. We must have reliable and safe streets and bridges. The issue is funding. We simply do not have enough money to take care of all the transportation needs we have.”

State Sen. Ralph Alvarado, R-Winchester, said support from Gov. Andy Beshear is needed.

“I know it’s easy to say, ‘just get these things accomplished,’ but we need the governor to step up on some of these issues and he’s not been willing to do that this far,” Alvarado said.

Beshear’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

Regional Editor

An Ohio native, J.D. Davidson is a veteran journalist with more than 30 years of experience in newspapers in Ohio, Georgia, Alabama and Texas. He has served as a reporter, editor, managing editor and publisher.