News Archives – 2006

October 5, 2006- For immediate Release
For more information- KLC Communications 859.977.3700

REP. ROB WILKEY AND SEN. DAMON THAYER NAMED CO-WINNERS OF ‘BIG HITTER FOR KENTUCKY CITIES’ AWARD

LEXINGTON, Ky. – In an unprecedented move, the Kentucky League of Cities bestowed its annual “Big Hitter for Kentucky Cities” award on a pair of recipients: Representative Rob Wilkey of Scottsville and Senator Damon Thayer of Georgetown.

“Given the major contributions that both Rep. Wilkey and Sen. Thayer made to improve the quality of life in Kentucky’s cities, we felt both should receive this award,” said Sylvia L. Lovely, CEO and executive director of KLC.

Rep. Wilkey and Sen. Thayer received their awards October 5 during the Kentucky League of Cities C Annual Convention and Expo held at the Lexington Convention Center. The event has attracted more than 800 delegates, public officials and exhibitors.

The event was held Oct. 4-7.

Damon Thayer receives award from KLC CEO/ Executive Director Sylvia L. Lovely and Incoming KLC Board President and Elizabethtown Mayor David Wilmoth.

Ten other state legislator also were honored as “Friends of Kentucky Cities” —Rep. Ruth Ann Palumbo of Lexington, Sen. Jack Westwood of Crescent Springs, Rep. Larry Clark of Louisville, Rep. Steve Nunn of Glasgow, Rep.Dennis Horlander of Shively, Sen. Ed Worley of Richmond, Rep. Arnold Simpson of Covington, Rep. Joe Bowen of Owensboro, and Rep. Jon Draud of Edgewood and Rep. Ancel Smith of Leburn.

In winning the “Big Hitter” award, Rep. Wilkey developed legislation that protects the ability of cities to obtain blighted property but also provides strong protections for private property owners. This legislation was KLC’s top priority for 2006 and was passed in the aftermath of the U.S. Supreme Court’s controversial Kelo decision that prompted a wave of protest nationwide over fears that cities were being given too much power in exercising eminent domain.

Sen. Thayer, who is chairman of the State and Local Government Committee, had a number of issues reach his committee that were detrimental to cities and his leadership assured that these issues did not harm Kentucky cities. Sen Thayer also helped fashion a compromise in a bill that reduces the requirements of cities to publish notices in newspapers.

He also recently co-chaired the Local Government Tax Task Force that made favorable recommendations regarding KLC’s constitutional amendment proposal for local government tax reform.


September 29, 2006

Thayer Recommends Kenton County Resident Charles Vaughn to Child Support Enforcement Commission

(Frankfort) –– Senator Damon Thayer (R-Georgetown) announced that, upon his recommendation, Charles (“Chuck”) Vaughn of Kenton County has been appointed by Governor Ernie Fletcher to the Child Support Enforcement Commission. Vaughn will be joining the commission immediately.

Senator Thayer stated, “As a member of the county attorney’s office, Chuck Vaughn is familiar with the process for the collection of child support payments and he will be able to use his experience to make the collection system more efficient and fair.”

“This is a great opportunity to do more in the area of child support enforcement,” Vaughn stated, “I am thankful to both Senator Thayer and Governor Fletcher for their confidence in me.”

Vaughn currently works in the office of Kenton County Attorney, Gary Edmonson. He is a graduate of Centre College and the University of Kentucky Law School. Vaughn lives in Taylor Mill with his wife, Debbie, and their two children.

The Child Support Enforcement Commission was established by statute in 1988 by the Kentucky General Assembly. The Commission acts in an advisory capacity on child support issues to the Governor, General Assembly, the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, the Department of Law, and the Administrative Office of the Courts. By holding quarterly open meetings, the Commission also provides a regular forum for those involved in the child support system to discuss aspects of the administrative or judicial system and to offer recommendations for improvements to the program.

Senator Damon Thayer represents the 17th District comprised of Scott, Owen, Grant, and Kenton counties. He is chairman of the Senate State and Local Government Committee and serves on the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee, Licensing, Occupations, and Administrative Regulations Committee, and the Transportation Committee.

 

Kentucky Harness Horsemen Give Thayer Leadership Award

Frankfort – Senator Damon Thayer (R-Georgetown) was recently honored with the Kentucky Harness Horsemen’s Association’s 2006 “Leadership Award.”

“Over the years Sen. Thayer has worked tirelessly to promote, improve and enhance the horse industry in the commonwealth and has been a great ambassador for our business throughout this country and abroad,” said KHHA President Robert Stewart. “We appreciate and acknowledge all the accomplishments that Senator Thayer has spearheaded for our industry.”

Thayer was recognized for his efforts to work in a bi-partisan way to finalize many accomplishments over the past several years including the introduction of a critical breeders’ incentive program.

“For the amount of tourism, economic benefits, and enjoyment that the horse industry brings Kentucky, it is important that we keep our place as horse capital of the world,” Thayer said. “I am humbled by this honor and will continue to do all I can to support the horse industry in Kentucky.”

Senator Thayer represents the 17th District which includes Independence, Taylor Mill, and Southern Kenton County. Along with being chairman of the State and Local Government Committee, Senator Thayer sits on the Transportation Committee, Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee, and Licensing and Occupations Committee. He is Senate Chairman of the Horse Farming Subcommittee.

Senator Thayer welcomes comments or questions toll free at 800-372-7181 or email Sen. Thayer at[email protected] .


Thayer Recommends Kenton County Resident James Cook to Governor’s Commission on Family Farms

Frankfort – Senator Damon Thayer (R-Georgetown) announced that, upon his recommendation, James Cook of Kenton County has been appointed by Governor Ernie Fletcher to the Governor’s Commission on Family Farms. Cook will be joining the commission immediately.

“Jim is the type of person Governor Fletcher can count on to fill these important seats,” Thayer said. “I congratulate Jim on this appointment and was happy to recommend him to the Governor.”

Cook is a retired Lt. Colonel in the Army National Guard, who currently serves as a recruiting coordinator for the Bluegrass Challenge Academy, a program designed to work with at risk youth. He is also the former owner of the Korner Market in Piner.

The Governor’s Commission on Family Farms was formed in 1998 as an advisory board to the Governor. It deals with issues directly impacting the farm families of the Commonwealth. The Commission is the first group comprised primarily of family farmers to focus exclusively on the interests of Kentucky’s farms families and rural communities. It is comprised of 24 members board.

Senator Thayer represents the 17th District which includes Owen, Scott, Grant, and Southern Kenton County. Along with being chairman of the State and Local Government Committee, Senator Thayer sits on the Transportation Committee, Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee, and Licensing and Occupations Committee. He is Senate Chairman of the Horse Farming Subcommittee, the Local Taxation Task Force and the Task Force on Elections and Constitutional Amendments.

Senator Thayer’s July 13 Report from Frankfort

Frankfort – Today, I would like to update you on something I have been working on over the last year so that your tax dollars are spent most efficiently. In 2005, the General Assembly voted to create a Task Force on Local Taxation. The membership of this task force included legislators, government officials, and citizen members. I was included on the task force and was lucky also selected by Senate Leadership to serve as co-chairman.

The task force met seven times over a 10-month period to gather information on the local tax system in Kentucky and make recommendations on how the system can be improved. The task force reviewed constitutional requirements regarding local taxation, current taxes imposed by local governments, and the local tax burden in various Kentucky cities and counties. We also looked at existing economic development incentives available to local governments and how effectively those incentives are used by local governments.

Last month we issued our final report. The primary recommendation of the task force was to propose a constitutional amendment that would allow the General Assembly in the future to establish a more flexible and efficient local government tax structure. This would allow the Assembly to have the ability to determine whether local governments should be provided with greater tax flexibility at the local level or whether a state and local revenue sharing arrangement should be developed.

Any revenue sharing programs implemented should require a specified level of local effort before a local government is permitted to participate in state/local revenue sharing initiatives. The concept is that local governments should help themselves before seeking assistance from Frankfort.

Other recommendations include:

  • Statutes be amended to allow fiscal courts to eliminate special districts in a more streamlined and efficient manner
  • All existing and newly created special tax districts be required to register with the Governor’s Office for Local Development (GOLD) within a specified time frame
  • Special taxing districts created by fiscal courts, other than those regulated by the Public Service Commission (PSC), be required to have all rates and fees, including rate or fee changes, approved by the fiscal court
  • Special taxing districts be required to submit budgets and tax rates to fiscal courts in a timely manner to comply with the county budgeting process.

The task force generally supports the development of incentives to encourage local governments to voluntarily engage in revenue sharing and to eliminate tax credit conflicts. Local governments are encouraged to focus on matching revenues to the provision of services and to implement efficient tax collection procedures and standardization when possible.

The task force also recommended that the General Assembly study the state road aid formula, which has not been significantly amended since 1948. It is outdated and needs to be improved in order to properly fund infrastructure and economic development in Kentucky.

As I continue to take part in other committee meetings until January, please continue to feel free to call me toll-free at 800/372-7191 or email me at [email protected] with your concerns or questions. Many of you have contacted me on a range of topics and as always, I appreciate your thoughts and ideas which we take into account when passing legislation.


Senator Thayer’s June 30 Report from Frankfort

Frankfort – As a result of the work completed by the Senate during the Special Session in Frankfort this week, small businesses will save more than $40 million in taxes each year. We took only five working days to approve the plan while also providing tax incentives to help lure a $1 billion clean-coal, zero-emissions power plant to Kentucky, making this an incredibly efficient and successful special session.

Gov. Fletcher called the session so that we could revise the tax modernization plan we approved last year. The 2005 plan closed loopholes that allowed some large companies to escape their fair share of taxes, but many small businesses and other groups saw their tax bills grow dramatically.

Under the fix we approved, businesses with less than $3 million in profits will be exempt from the what’s called the Alternative Minimum Calculation, while businesses with profits of more than $3 million but less than $6 million will have the AMC gradually phased in. Certain charities, cooperatives and other groups like homeowners associations will be exempt as well.

The AMC had proven extremely problematic and even unfair to many of the state’s 70,000 small businesses, because it is based on gross receipts or gross profits rather than net profits. As a result, some high-volume businesses with narrow profit margins — and even some businesses that showed no net profits at all — had seen their tax bills soar.

The overall corporate tax rate will also decrease to 6 percent. The 2005 tax plan had already cut corporate tax rates from 8.25 percent to 7 percent. The economic growth the state has seen since then is encouraging, and we expect to see even more growth with this further reduction.

The Senate also voted to realign Kentucky’s tax code with federal tax laws to reduce the paperwork burden on businesses. This will create another enticement for economic expansion in our state.

The second issue taken up by the special session was tax incentives to help lure FutureGen, a demonstration and research facility focused on clean-coal, zero-emission power, to Kentucky. The U.S. Department of Energy is leading the consortium that will build the $1 billion facility. FutureGen would produce hydrogen and electricity from coal while capturing carbon dioxide and containing it underground instead of releasing it into the atmosphere. The result is a cleaner environment, and untold economic gains for Kentucky and the surrounding area.

Seven states have submitted 12 bids for the project, with 3-5 finalists expected to be named in July. I feel Kentucky has a competitive proposal. We have through our action this session sent a message to the federal government that we’re serious about hosting the project and dedicated to the idea of inexpensive, clean energy that uses Kentucky coal.

It is estimated that FutureGen will generate 1,300 jobs during its construction phase, and 125-150 high-paying professional jobs after that. There will also be the benefit to related industries — the extra coal that will be needed for the plant, the mining equipment and other heavy machinery necessary for the plant’s operations, and other economic sectors — and the various spinoffs that could come from hydrogen energy and coal gasification.

As I continue to take part in committee meetings until January, please continue to feel free to call me toll-free at 800/372-7191 with your concerns or questions. Many of you have contacted me on a range of topics and as always, I appreciate your thoughts and ideas which we take into account when passing legislation.


Senator Damon Thayer and Governor Ernie Fletcher present the first Kentucky Thoroughbred Breeders’ Incentive Fund

Senator Damon Thayer and Governor Ernie Fletcher present the first Kentucky Thoroughbred Breeders’ Incentive Fund check to Mike and Jeanne Owens beneath the Twin Spires of Churchill Downs on Tuesday, May 2.  The Owens’s are the breeders of Sinister Minister, winner of the Grade I Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland in April. 

That victory earned them $25,000 from the KTBIF, which was authored by Senator Thayer and included in Governor Fletcher’s tax modernization plan that became law in 2005. Mike and Jeanne Owens manage Cobra Farm in Lexington and own two mares of their own.”

 

Governor Ernie Fletcher and the Governor’s Office for Local Development (GOLD) today announced a $113,651 Renaissance on Main grant for the city of Georgetown. Funding will be used for a façade project.

“The Renaissance on Main program encourages practical downtown expansion while maintaining a vibrant atmosphere,” said Governor Fletcher. “The city of Georgetown’s downtown businesses will financially benefit with facade improvements.” Renaissance on Main funds will be used for the Georgetown façade program. Eight properties will be affected. Officials expect the creation of 30 jobs and the retention of another 100. This project is estimated to increase the value of the downtown properties by $250,000.

“As a resident of Georgetown, I know the appeal of the downtown area,” said Senator Damon Thayer (R-Georgetown). “The funding for this project will make downtown Georgetown a beautiful place for our tourists to visit.”

Renaissance on Main, formerly Renaissance Kentucky, is a downtown revitalization effort that provides communities funding in order to restore and maintain their downtown areas. The program is focused on economic development and job creation. There are two classifications of cities: Certified and Candidate. Georgetown is a Certified Renaissance on Main city.

The Renaissance on Main program partners with the Kentucky Heritage Council/Main Street Program, the Kentucky Department of Tourism, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, the Kentucky League of Cities, the Kentucky Housing Corporation, the Federal Home Loan Bank of Cincinnati and the Governor’s Office for Local Development, the agency responsible for administering the program.

Owen Road Projects

Frankfort –The state budget recently passed by the General Assembly contained many local road projects for Owen County. I wanted to review some of these projects with you because they will affect you and your family in many positive ways.

Several road resurfacing projects are scheduled that will repair our local roads. These projects will not only improve the safety of our county roads, but also help increase the economic development in Owen County. I will continue working with local officials to determine the best plan for future road resurfacing projects that can increase access and safety for Owen County residents.

The following is the list of routes scheduled for resurfacing and construction in Owen County that have not been completed yet. The resurfacing will start at the mile marking or crossroad listed below. The fiscal year in which the segment is to be funded is also included:

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Main Route Resurfacing Projects for 2006

    1. US 127 from KY 22 to KY 2354 (Roland Ave) for a distance of 1.146 miles. The cost of this project is $125,000.00.
    2. KY 325 (Dowd Road) from KY 1669 (Old Moxley) to KY 227 (Worthville Road) for a distance of 2.846 miles. The cost is $102,000.00.
    3. KY 325 (Dowd Road) from KY 355 (Gratz Road) to KY 1669 (Old Moxley) for a distance of 2.796 miles. The cost for this section is $110,000.00. This and the above project are concurrent, totaling 5.6 miles.
    4. KY 2353 (Blanton Street) from US 127 to end of state maintenance for a distance of 0.2363 mile. The total cost is $13,000.00.
    5. KY 2353 (Roland Ave.) from KY 22 to US 127 for a distance of 0.454 mile. The total cost is $27,000.00.

Total $377,000.00Rural Secondary Resurfacing Projects for fiscal year 2006-2007

    1. KY 607 (New Columbus Road) will be resurfaced from KY 227 to KY 2018 for a distance of 5.724 miles. This project is estimated to cost $171,720.00.
    2. KY 3102 (Stewart Road) will be resurfaced from US 127 to KY 36 for a distance of 4.477 miles. This project is estimated to cost $134,310.00.
    3. KY 3103 (Swope Road) will be resurfaced from KY 227 to Kincaid Lane for a distance of 2.178 miles. This project is estimated to cost $65,340.00.
    4. KY 1287 (Harris Ridge Road) will be resurfaced from US 127 to KY 3095 for a distance of 1.255 miles. This project is estimated to cost $37,650.00.
    5. KY 1670 (Boat Dock Road) will be resurfaced from 2.0 miles south of KY 22 to KY 22 for a distance of 2.0 miles. This project is estimated to cost $59,000.00.

Total $468,020.00

6 Year Plan for 2006 and 2007

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    1. An October letting is scheduled for a reconstruction project at the KY 22 and KY 1982 intersection. This is a Hazard Elimination and Safety Project that will reconstruct the intersection and improve the sight distance at the KY 22/KY 1982 intersection. This project is estimated to cost $580,000.00.

Other Future Projects

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1) Funding for the of design of the next phase of KY 22, starting east of Owen County High School to the Owen/Grant county line. This design project is estimated to cost $1,500,000.00.Total $2,080,000.00

As a member of the Senate Transportation Committee, I will continue to be a strong advocate for state road funds going to as many local routes as possible. These latest road resurfacing plans represent progress in the area of improving local roads throughout Kentucky.

Senator Damon Thayer


Grant Road Projects

Frankfort –The state budget recently passed by the General Assembly contained many local road projects for Grant County. I wanted to review some of these projects with you because they will affect you and your family in many positive ways.Several road resurfacing projects are scheduled that will repair our local roads. These projects will not only improve the safety of our county roads, but also help increase the economic development in Grant County. I will continue working with local officials to determine the best plan for future road resurfacing projects that can increase access and safety for Grant County residents.The following is the list of routes scheduled for resurfacing and construction in Grant County that have not been completed yet. The resurfacing will start at the mile marking or crossroad listed below. The fiscal year in which the segment is to be funded is also included :

Main Route Resurfacing Projects for 2006

    1. US 25 from KY 2936 (Keefer Road) to KY 1993 (Lawrenceville Road) for a distance of 2.493 miles. The cost of this section is $129,000.00. US 25 from KY 1993 (Lawrenceville Road) to KY 36 (Stewartsville Road) for a distance of 3.577 miles. The cost of this section is $176,000.00. US 25 from KY 36 (Stewartsville Road) to the RR Bridge in Williamstown for a distance of 1.746 miles. The cost of this section is $118,000.00. All three of these projects are concurrent, totaling 7.7 miles.
    2. KY 36 (Stewartsville Road) from KY 22 to KY 1995 (Simpson Ridge) for a distance of 4.140. The total cost is $168,000.00.

Total $591,000.00

Rural Secondary Resurfacing Projects for fiscal year 2006-2007

    1. KY 1994 (Sherman-Mt Zion Road) will be resurfaced from KY 1942 near Mount Zion to US 25 for a distance of 3.934 miles. This project is estimated to cost $118,000.00. KY 1132 (Jonesville-Folsom Road) will be resurfaced from KY 36 to KY 467 for a distance of 6.067 miles. This project is estimated to cost $182,010.00.
    2. KY 330 (Corinth Road) will be resurfaced from KY 36 to the Pendleton County line for a distance of 2.859 miles. This project is estimated to cost $85,770.00.

Total $385,780.00

6 Year Plan for 2006 and 2007

    1. A March letting is scheduled for the replacement of the CNO & TPRailroad Bridge located at Corinth East of US 25. This project is estimated to cost $1,026,858.00The continuation of the I-75 widening project will continue thissummer. The next phases are scheduled to be let in July 2006. From south of Pokeberry Road to the Grant county line the project will continue widening I 75 from 4 to 6 lanes to provide more capacity. This section is estimated to cost $34 million. KYTC District 7 will be coordinating this project.

      The widening of I-75 will continue from the north moving south,District 6 will be coordinating this project. This next section will continue from the current project, which runs from Dry Ridge to Williamstown.

      It is scheduled to be let in October 2006. It begins 0.8 of a mile south of KY 36 and goes to the Heekin Pike underpass. This section is estimated to cost $12 million.

      A Bridge and approaches replacement over Ten Mile Creek and an atgrade crossing improvement of the CSX railroad is scheduled to be let

      in November 2006. This project is estimated to cost $1.5 million.

      A bridge and approaches replacement at the CNO & TP system andPark Road which is 0.4 mile south of KY 22 in Williamstown on US 25

      is scheduled to be let in March of 2007. This project is estimated to cost $5 million. It will replace bridge railings and the architectural details are to be consistent with the existing bridge.

      The next section of I-75 is scheduled to be let in April of 2007. It willpick up from the existing project beginning near the Heekin Pike and ending at the underpass to Keefer Road. This section is estimated at $35 million for construction.

    2. The final section of the I-75 widening project is scheduled to be let in

June of 2007. This will tie in the final portion of the additional lanes from the Keefer Road underpass to the Grant County line. This construction is estimated at $28 million.8) Improvements to Eibeck Lane, which will be the access road to the proposed veteran’s cemetery. There is $900,000 in the road plan for this project, which will begin when the federal government gets cemetery construction underway, possibly in 2007.

9) Nearly $3 million is included for my top priority in Grant County, the widening of Barnes Road from I-75 to US 25. Not only will this improve safety and access for those who currently use Barnes Road on a daily basis, but also allow for further economic development and job growth on the north side of the road.

Total just over $116.5 millionAs a member of the Senate Transportation committee, I will continue to be a strong advocate for state road funds going to as many local routes as possible. These latest road resurfacing plans represent progress in the area of improving local roads throughout Kentucky.

Senator Damon Thayer


Scott Road Projects

Frankfort –The state budget recently passed by the General Assembly contained many local road projects for Scott County. I wanted to review some of these projects with you because they will affect you and your family in many positive ways.Several road resurfacing projects are scheduled that will repair our local roads. These projects will not only improve the safety of our county roads, but also help increase the economic development in Scott County. I will continue working with local officials to determine the best plan for future road resurfacing projects that can increase access and safety for Scott County residents.Chief among these projects is the funding for the widening of I-75, as well as the first leg of the proposed NW 460 bypass.The following is the list of routes scheduled for resurfacing and construction in Scott County that have not been completed yet. The resurfacing will start at the mile marking or crossroad listed below. The fiscal year in which the segment is to be funded is also included:

Main Route Resurfacing Projects for 2006

    1. US 25 (Cincinnati Pike) from south of Gemini Trail to ½ mile south of KY 32. A distance of 7 miles. KY 2909 (Connector Road): Entire route from US 62 to US 460. KY 1963 (Lisle Road) from the Fayette County line to KY 1962. A distance of 2.684 miles.
    2. KY 1689 (Switzer Road) from the Franklin County line to KY 227. A distance of 2.304 miles.

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Six-year Plan Projects – * All cost are rounded up

    1. US 25: Replace bridge over North Rays Fork, 0.6 miles south of the Grant-Scott County Line. Anticipated to be let in April 2006. Project is estimated to cost $325,000 KY 356: Replace bridge and approaches at Norfolk-Southern(CNO & TP) Railroad System, 2.3 miles east of US 25. Anticipated to be let in May 2006. Project is estimated to cost $ 900,000 KY 32: Replace bridge over Lytle Creek at Josphine, 1.4 miles west of KY 1636. Project is estimated to cost $550,000. Currently scheduled for letting in March 2007. I-75: Major widening from South of Pokeberry Road to Grant County Line. Continued widening to 6 lanes of I-75. Project is scheduled for construction in FY 2007. Project is estimated to cost $34,000,000 Georgetown Northwest Bypass: From US 460 West to I-75. Priority Section from US 460 West to KY 32 is scheduled for construction in FY 2008. Total project is estimated to cost $41,800,000 KY 620: Widen and improve shoulders on KY 620. Project is scheduled for construction in FY 2008. Project is estimated to cost $1,500,000 US 25: Reconstruct and widen US 25 from 1400 feet south of Ironworks road to Etter Lane. Project scheduled for construction in FY 2009. Project is estimated to cost $12,100,000 US 460: Reconstruct US 460 west of Georgetown to eliminate “S” Curve 0.2 miles west of Cane Run Road. Project scheduled for construction in FY 2008. Project is estimated to cost $3,300,000 US 460: Reconstruct US 460 from KY 227 at Great Crossing to US 62 west of Georgetown. Project is scheduled for construction in FY 2011. Project is estimated to cost 7,219,000
    2. CR 5020: Hinton Rd., Replace bridge over Norfolk-Southern (CNO & TP) Railroad. Project is estimated to cost $815,000. Currently scheduled for letting in FY 2007.

Total 6YP Amount: $102,509,000

As a member of the Senate Transportation Committee, I will continue to be a strong advocate for state road funds going to as many local routes as possible. These latest road resurfacing plans represent progress in the area of improving local roads throughout Kentucky.

Senator Damon Thayer


Kenton Road Projects

Frankfort –The state budget recently passed by the General Assembly contained many local road projects for Kenton County. I wanted to review some of these projects with you because they will affect you and your family in many positive ways.Several road resurfacing projects are scheduled that will repair our local roads. These projects will not only improve the safety of our county roads, but also help increase the economic development in Kenton County. I will continue working with local officials to determine the best plan for future road resurfacing projects that can increase access and safety for Kenton County residents.The following is the list of routes scheduled for resurfacing and construction in Kenton County that have not been completed yet. The resurfacing will start at the mile marking or crossroad listed below. The fiscal year in which the segment is to be funded is also included:

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Main Route Resurfacing Projects for 2006

1) KY 177 (Decoursey Pike) from KY 14 (Rich Road) to Ishmael Road for a distance of 2.531 miles. The cost of this section is $113,000.00.2) KY 17 (Madison Pike) from the Cruises Creek Bridge to KY 2042(Moffett Road) for a distance of 3.080 miles. This is estimated to cost $146,000.00.3) KY 16 (Taylor Mill Road) from KY 1486 (Stevens Road) to KY 1501

(Hands Pike) for a distance of 3.092 miles. This is estimated at $175,000.00.

4) KY 16 (Taylor Mill Road) from KY 17 ( Madison Pike) to KY 1486

(Stevens Road) for a distance of 2.803 miles. It is estimated at $126,000.00.Total $560,000.00

Rural Secondary Resurfacing Projects for fiscal year 2006-2007

    1. KY 3072 (Hempling Road) will be resurfaced from Trace Run Bridge to KY 3081 for a distance of 0.661 mile. This project is estimated to cost $38,526.00. KY 3081 (Oak Island Road) will be resurfaced from KY 3072 to KY 2042 for a distance of 0.768 mile. This project is estimated to cost $26,185.00. KY 2043 (Green Road) will be resurfaced from US 25 to the Cruises Creek Bridge for a distance of 3.288 miles. This project is estimated to cost $132,996.00.
    2. KY 3083 (Parkers Grove Road) will be resurfaced from KY 2046 to KY 14 for a distance of 1.108 miles. This project is estimated to cost $54,136.00.

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Total $251,843.00

6 Year Plan for 2006 and 2007

    1. The KY 1072 (Highland Ave) will extend from KY 17 to connect withCrosby and Magellan Roads. This $15.5 million dollar estimated construction project is scheduled to be let in April with construction beginning this summer. The length of the project is 1.5 miles. This is a new road and construction should have minimal impact on traffic.Construction should be complete in 2008. (This project is in the 23rd Senate District, represented Sen. Jack Westwood who secured funding for the project.)

      Adding a restroom facility to the I-75 Weigh Station in Kenton County.This project is being done out of Frankfort. It is estimated to cost

      $850,000.00.

    2. Adding right turn lane on Buttermilk Pike (KY 371) plans to begin this fall 2006. The project will extend a right turn lane on Buttermilk Pike (KY 371) east from Anderson Road to the I-75 southbound exit ramp for approximately .3 of a mile. This project is estimated to cost$950,000.00 for construction. Construction should be complete fall 2007. (This project is in the 23rd Senate District, represented Sen. Jack Westwood who secured funding for the project.)4) An early 2007 letting is anticipated for a reconstruction project at the KY 17 and KY 14 intersection in Piner near the Korner Market. This is a Hazard Elimination and Safety Project that will realign the intersection and improve the sight distance at the KY 17/KY 14 intersection. This project is estimated to cost $580,000.00

      Total $17.8 million

      As a member of the Senate Transportation Committee, I will continue to be a strong advocate for state road funds going to as many local routes as possible. These latest road resurfacing plans represent progress in the area of improving local roads throughout Kentucky.

      Senator Damon Thayer

       


       

      April 21, 2006

      Senator Thayer’s 2006 Legislation Report from Frankfort

      Frankfort –As the General Assembly recently wrapped up its Regular Session, I wanted to review some of the legislation we have passed over the last few months that will most affect you and your family.

      The Senate passed Senate Bill 2, also known as the Military Families Benefits Bill. It focused on primarily National Guard and Reserve families, and makes provisions for families of those serving in active duty military. The bill creates a Military Family Assistance Trust Fund. When a Kentuckian is deployed as a member of the regular military outside the United States or a member of the National Guard or Reserve on any federal active duty, the trust fund comes into play. The service member’s family may apply to receive a grant from the trust fund to pay for necessities such as housing, utilities, groceries,; health insurance co-pay, and child care. Although this bill did not make it through the legislative process, the provisions of the bill were included in the final state budget.

      We also passed SB 47. This bill expands to elementary and middle schools what is currently the law for high schools, that one class period be devoted to Veteran’s Day observances on or near Veteran’s Day. This bill presents an opportunity to stand-up for our courageous veterans and their families and to ensure that future generations of Kentuckians will learn about and honor their sacrifices.

      We also approved a bill that would make it a crime to disrupt a funeral or burial. The legislation is aimed at a recent rash of disturbing protests at the services for our fallen soldiers, both here and in other states, where people picket the services with virulently hateful signs and yell insults at mourners. This bill would punish such protests as disorderly conduct, with penalties of up to a year in jail.

      Senate Bill 130 was passed after it earned broad support from the Council on Postsecondary Education, the School Board Association, and the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce because of the progressive steps it takes to prepare our students for higher education. It requires that all 11th grade public school students take the ACT (American College Test) college entrance assessment and placement exam in the spring of 2009 and thereafter and requires the ACT to be included as part of CATS (Commonwealth Accountability Testing System).

      The Senate also recognized the importance of the Ten Commandments in American history by passing House Bill 277. This legislation clearly spells out the impact of the Ten Commandments on our legal system and makes it clear that they can be posted in public spaces within the proper historical context, as the U.S. Supreme Court has allowed. We also amended the bill in the Senate to request that the Ten Commandments monument that was donated to the Commonwealth in 1971 be restored to the Capitol grounds.

      We have also taken steps to protect people who fight back in self-defense. Under the terms of SB 38, people would be allowed to stand their ground and defend themselves, without being required to run away first. This bill would head off such miscarriages of justice as a thief breaking into a home, then bringing charges against the homeowner who shoots or injures them. The bill is designed to protect law-abiding men and women who are merely protecting themselves, their loved ones, and their property.

      Finally, the Senate passed House Bill 3 which strengthens sentencing guidelines so that sexual predators serve out their full sentences, and once released, are restricted from places where children are present. The bill expands the zones of safety around schools, public pools, and daycare centers to 1000 feet from the furthest point of the property line and makes possession of child pornography a felony. It allows a jury to sentence a repeat sex offender to a lifetime in prison without the possibility of parole for a minimum of 25 years and makes it a crime for a person to “mislead” police about the whereabouts of a non-compliant or registered sex offender. Our highest priority must be ensuring the safety of our children and our families.

      Next week I will highlight various road projects included in the state budget that benefit the counties of the 17th Senate District. 

      .


      April 11, 2006

      Senator Thayer Announces Funding for Horse Industry Initiatives

      Frankfort – Senator Damon Thayer (R-Georgetown) announced today four horse industry initiatives that he was able to include in the Kentucky state budget which passed the General Assembly on Tuesday:

      • $13,500,000 in bonds for Phase II construction of the Livestock Disease and Diagnostic Center (LDDC) at the University of Kentucky. The LDDC funds were a priority of the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association, and Thayer credits Senator Alice Forgy Kerr (R-Lexington) for her role as a budget committee member in adding the LDDC to the state budget.
      • $1,200,000 in operating funds for the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority to replace the daily assessments currently charged to racetracks by the KHRA. The General Assembly will no longer permit the KHRA to charge the daily assessments, which amounted to $3,500 per live race day for Thoroughbred tracks and $1,750 per live race day for Standardbred/Quarter Horse facilities.
      • $600,000 ($300,000 per year) for additional funding for the University of Louisville Equine Program.
      • $300,000 in planning and development funds for the North American Racing Academy (NARA) at the Kentucky Horse Park. The funds have been assigned to the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS), which is working with NARA founder and Hall of Fame jockey Chris McCarron to develop the curriculum for the program.

      “These are positive steps to help Kentucky’s horse industry, ” said Thayer, Senate chairman of the Horse Farming Subcommittee. “The Racing Academy and the University of Louisville Equine Program will educate the future workforce that is critical to the horse industry, and the diagnostic lab expansion will help horse farmers deal with any threat of equine disease like MRLS. The track assessments, which were instituted during the Patton Administration, were of questionable statutory authority and needed to be replaced with a general fund appropriation to properly fund the Horse Racing Authority.”


      Thayer Announces Scott County Projects Contained in Budget Scott County Continues to Make Gains

      (Frankfort) –– I am happy to announce that with the passage of the state budget on Tuesday, there are many projects for Scott County included in Kentucky’s two year spending plan. I think that the citizens of Scott County will be very happy with this budget and I’m convinced that this is the best budget ever for our region. This budget will increase the dollars going to Scott County schools and infrastructure and ensure that our most needy have adequate health services without raising taxes.In the area of education, the budget included a two percent raise for teachers in the first year of the biennium and a $3,500 base salary raise in the second year. Two extra instructional days were also added to the school year and special emphasis was placed on early reading and math initiatives. The state budget also included $50 million in funding for improving computer technology in the state’s classrooms. These initiatives will bring us more into line with our surrounding states and improve education efforts for Kentucky’s children. The University of Kentucky also received an increase in its base funding for the 2007-2008 school year of over $20 million.

      Furthermore, the proposed budget agreement contains $2.5 million for Sadieville’s Waste Systems Improvements Project and $500,000 for the proposed Scott County reservoir. Increasing the amount of funding given to projects like these is vital to Scott County if we hope to deal with the massive growth we have experienced in recent years. These funds will help us continue that growth while also maintaining high quality of life for our citizens.Also included for Scott County was $100,000 in operating costs for the Scott County Senior Center, $150,000 to fund improvements to Buffalo Springs Park, in Stomping Ground and $200,000 for the Scott County High School Athletic Fieldhouse. There is also $1.5 million for the design of the Scott County Advanced Manufacturing Center. The center will be a part of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) and will be located at Bluegrass Community & Technical College’s Scott County campus in Georgetown.In preparation for the World Equestrian games that will be held in Lexington in 2010, the budget includes $36 million for the construction of the Kentucky Horse Park Arena. This will benefit the economy of Scott County for years to come. I would also like to point out that the budget helps to offset the costs of employee health insurance for small business owners and a “Military Family Assistance Fund” aimed at helping the families of soldiers stationed abroad.


      April 13, 2006

      Thayer Announces Owen County Projects Contained in Budget – Owen County Continues to Make Gains

      (Frankfort) ––I am happy to announce that with the passage of the state budget on Tuesday, there are many projects for Owen County included in the state budget. I think that the citizens of Owen County will be very happy with this budget and I’m convinced that this is the best budget ever for our region. This budget will increase the dollars going to Owen County schools and infrastructure and ensure that our most needy have adequate health services without raising taxes.In the area of education, the budget included a two percent raise for teachers in the first year of the biennium and a $3,500 base salary raise in the second year. Two extra instructional days were also added to the school year and special emphasis was placed on early reading and math initiatives. The state budget also included $50 million in funding for improving computer technology in the state’s classrooms. This will help bring Kentucky into line with our surrounding states, and improve education for schoolchildren across the Commonwealth.

      The University of Kentucky also received an increase in its base funding for the 2007-2008 school year of over $20 million, which will help it achieve its goal of becoming one of the nation’s top 20 research universities.Furthermore, the budget agreement contains over $11 million for construction of a new court house in Owen County. Securing funding for a project like the courthouse for Owen County shows that we have our seat at the table in Frankfort. State funding for projects like this will help us maintain a high quality of life for our citizens.Also included for Owen County was $5 million for the Owenton Natural Gas Line, and another $1 million in water intake funding for the City of Owenton. The gas line project was my top priority for Owen County, and with this $5 million grant we will finally see this project come to fruition. It will help create jobs and improve the quality of life for Owen County. The water intake, which Owenton Mayor David “Milkweed” Wotier lobbied heavily for, should help insure a stable water source and hopefully avoid water shortages during times of extreme drought. I’d also like to point out that the budget helps to offset the costs of employee health insurance for small business owners and a “Military Family Assistance Fund” aimed at helping the families of soldiers stationed abroad.

      In the next couple of weeks I will present what Road Projects are in store Owen County and also review important legislation that has passed during the 2006 Regular Session.


      Roeding, Thayer, & Westwood Announce Kenton County Projects Contained in Budget – Kenton County Continues to Make Gains

      (Frankfort) –– We are happy to announce that with the passage of the state budget on Tuesday, there are many projects for Kenton County included Kentucky’s two year spending plan. We think that the citizens of Kenton County will be very happy with this budget and are convinced that this is the best budget ever for our region. This budget will increase the dollars going to Kenton County schools and infrastructure and ensure that our most needy have adequate health services without raising taxes.In the area of education, the budget included a two percent raise for teachers in the first year of the biennium and a $3,500 base salary raise in the second year. Two extra instructional days were also added to the school year and special emphasis was placed on early reading and math initiatives. The state budget also included $50 million in funding for improving computer technology in the state’s classrooms. These initiatives will bring Kentucky more in line with our surrounding states and improve the education of students across the Commonwealth.In addition, funding was also included for Northern Kentucky University and for Gateway Community and Technical College. NKU will receive $35.5 million for construction of the College of Informatics, while Gateway will get $28 million for an advanced manufacturing complex. Furthermore, approximately $55 million was authorized statewide for construction projects in fast-growing school districts and those with special needs.Furthermore, the proposed budget agreement contains $1.5 million for improvements to the Behringer Crawford Museum in Covington, $1.7 million to upgrade and repair the Northern Kentucky Youth Development Center, and $1.25 million for the Timestar Commons Project. There is $300,000 for a new fire station in West Covington, $250,000 in sidewalk construction for Park Hills, $450,000 to the Covington Artisans Enterprise Center Improvements, $225,000 for the Ludlow Municipal Meeting Center. The budget also contains $4,500,000 in water system improvements that will improve water service across all of Kenton County, including $2 million for water lines in the south end of the county. Increasing the amount of funding given to projects like these is vital to Kenton County if we hope to deal with the massive growth we have experienced in recent years. These funds will help us continue that growth while also maintaining high quality of life for our citizens.We would also like to point out that the budget helps to offset the costs of employee health insurance for small business owners and a “Military Family Assistance Fund” aimed at helping the families of soldiers stationed abroad. In the next couple of weeks we will present what Road Projects are in store Kenton County and also review important legislation that has passed during the 2006 Regular Session. Senator Dick Roeding, 11th DistrictSenator Damon Thayer, 17th District

      Senator Jack Westwood, 23rd District

      Senator Roeding represents the 11th District which includes Lakeside Park and parts of Crescent Springs, Crestview Hills, Erlanger, and Ft. Mitchell. Senator Thayer represents the 17th District which includes Independence, Taylor Mill, and Southern Kenton County. Senator Westwood represents the 23rd District which includes Bellevue, Crescent Springs, Crestview Hills, Covington, Edgewood, Elsmere, Erlanger, Ft. Mitchell, Ft. Wright, Ludlow, Park Hills, and Villa Hills.


      Thayer Announces Grant County Projects Contained in Budget – Grant County Continues to Make Gains

      (Frankfort) –– I am happy to announce that with the passage of the state budget on Tuesday, there are many projects for Grant County included in the state budget. I think that the citizens of Grant County will be very happy with this budget and I’m convinced that this is the best budget ever for our region. This budget will increase the dollars going to Grant County schools and infrastructure and ensure that our most needy have adequate health services without raising taxes.In education, the budget included a two percent raise for teachers in the first year of the biennium and a $3,500 base salary raise in the second year. Two extra instructional days were also added to the school year and special emphasis was placed on early reading and math initiatives. The state budget also included $50 million in funding for improving computer technology in the state’s classrooms. This will bring Kentucky into line with our surrounding states and improve education for schoolchildren across the Commonwealth. The University of Kentucky also received an increase in its base funding for the 2007-2008 school year of over $20 million, which will help it achieve its goal of becoming one of the nation’s top 20 research universities.Furthermore, the proposed budget agreement contains $900,000 in funding for a wastewater treatment plant in Williamstown, which will serve as a regional facility for parts of Grant County. This budget is another step in our ongoing commitment to provide more water and sewer infrastructure to our residents and all Kentuckians. State funding for projects like this will help us maintain our rapid growth while also maintaining a high quality of life for our citizens.Also included for Grant County was $250,000 to provide a sewer line and fund repairs to a dysfunctional lagoon on Ambassador Drive in Dry Ridge, $100,000 for the Lake Williamstown Expansion Committee, and $50,000 in funding to bolster infrastructure at local fire departments. I would also like to point out that the budget helps to offset the costs of employee health insurance for small business owners and a “Military Family Assistance Fund” aimed at helping the families of soldiers stationed abroad.

      In the next couple of weeks I will present what Road Projects are in store Grant County and also review important legislation that has passed during the 2006 Regular Session.


      Veterans Cemetery to be “Shrine” – Grant County Chamber Sees Master Plan for Williamstown Project

      (FRANKFORT March 23, 2006) The Kentucky Veterans Cemetery – North in Williamstown will be a community asset as well as a shrine to veterans, speakers told the Grant County Chamber of Commerce Monday.

      “This project is something all of us will be proud of,” Rep. Royce Adams (D-Dry Ridge) told the group of about 60 local business people. “The cemetery will be good for the community as well as giving veterans an honorable burial.” He also quoted Les Beavers, Commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs (KDVA), who said when the project began: “We’re not just building a cemetery, we’re building a national shrine.”

      “The plan for Grant County to have a veterans cemetery is getting closer to fruition,” Sen. Damon Thayer (R-Georgetown), said. “We have money in the Six-Year Road Plan to improve Eiback Lane which will be necessary when they begin construction of the cemetery, hopefully in 2007. I’ve seen the plans for the cemetery and they are quite frankly stunning in scope. “The cemetery will be a fitting shrine and tribute to the men and women of our military who have protected our freedoms so ably.”

      Marty Pinkston, KDVA Deputy Commissioner, emphasized the cooperative effort between KDVA and the Grant County community. “We have to form strong partnerships in communities to make these projects work,” he said. Pinkston especially thanked Grant County Industrial Authority Executive Director Wade Gutman, Grant County Judge-Executive Darrell L. Link, and Rep. Adams for their vital contributions to the process. The Grant County Industrial Authority donated the land for the cemetery.
      David Worley, manager of KDVA’s cemetery branch, gave a slide presentation to the group showing the master plan for the cemetery and describing operations. He also showed a tentative timeline for the cemetery that anticipates construction beginning in January 2007 and the cemetery opening in 2008. He cautioned, however, that the timeline is dependent on KDVA receiving construction funding from the federal government next year.

      Kentucky Veterans Cemetery North is located on 99 acres off I-75 at mile marker one hundred fifty-four (154) in Williamstown. Construction will include a 3,600-square-foot administration building, a 4,400-square-foot maintenance building with service area, committal facility and a columbarium. It also has appropriate parking, road network, walking path and landscaping commensurate with the dignity and honor of a state veterans cemetery.

      Construction and initial equipment for KVCN will cost approximately $7.5 million. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs will reimburse the state for construction, and the state will pay the operating costs.

      For digital photos of the Master Plan for the Kentucky Veterans Cemetery North, please email Lisa Aug at [email protected]


      Sen. Thayer Secures $1.5 million for Scott County Advanced Manufacturing Center

      Frankfort – State Senator Damon Thayer (R-Georgetown) announced today that the budget passed by the Senate on Wednesday contains $1.5 million for the Scott County Advanced Manufacturing Center. The center will be a part of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) and will be located at Bluegrass Community & Technical College’s Scott County campus. The money, if included in the final General Assembly state budget, will be used for design funds on the development of the center.”Toyota’s presence in Scott County highlights the growing manufacturing sector of Kentucky’s economy,” said Thayer. “It is critical to the future that we provide a facility that educates workers in advanced manufacturing techniques, and I am pleased that the Senate leadership team agreed with my request for $1.5 million in design funds to help get this project underway.”The Senate budget is currently being considered by the House of Representatives.

      Senator Thayer welcomes comments or questions toll free at 800-372-7181 or via email at [email protected]


      Senator Thayer’s Week 10 Report from Frankfort

      Frankfort—As we wind down the 2006 Regular Session, I can report to you that we have been working on our state budget everyday, into the night and on weekends. Many of our local officials, community leaders, and citizens have contacted me with their concerns and priorities. As always, funds are short but I am doing my best to ensure adequate funding for education, health care, and infrastructure such as water, sewer, and transportation.

      However, the Senate also continues to pass legislation. Our children will hopefully drive safer with the passage of House Bill 90 which provides for an intermediate drivers license for those between the ages of 16 and 18 who have held an instruction permit for at least 180 days and completed at least 60 hours of supervised driving. They could not drive between midnight and 6 a.m. except under certain conditions and couldn’t have more than one unrelated passenger under 20. This measure is expected to lower the fatality rate among teen drivers by 15 to 25 percent.

      Young people are by far our most vulnerable drivers, even more susceptible to accidents than elderly drivers. Statistics say we can expect to save more than 100 young people’s lives annually because of this bill. We’re one of only four states without this intermediate phase, and that’s a distinction we don’t want.

      As we continue to provide for our military families and help them to help themselves, the Senate passed two bills helping those who defend our nation. HB 314 authorizes a low-interest loan program for veterans that would allow them to buy a home or pay for education for their family. HB 24 makes sure that veterans get proper consideration when applying for state merit system jobs. They would get 5 to ten bonus points in the scoring system used to evaluate applicants, and the three most qualified veterans would be guaranteed interviews for open positions.

      In the area of the courts, Senate Bill 257 passed the Senate by a wide margin of bi-partisan support. The bill provides a convenience to Kentuckians by requiring the state to comply with the same venue laws as citizens by filing suit where the action arose or the defendant resides. It is a cost-saving measure for the citizens of Kentucky because no longer will they have to travel long distances at great cost to have their cases heard in Frankfort in front of judges that their peers have not elected. It is past time for people across the state to be provided the same respect as the state itself when it comes to the adjudication of their grievances.

      We want to produce a plan that spends your tax dollars wisely and avoids too much borrowing while also promoting economic growth. Only six days remain before we recess for the veto period, so the coming week will see late nights as we work with House lawmakers to approve the laws Kentucky needs to move forward.

      With only six working days remaining before the veto period, we have a significant number of bills remaining before us, including the $17.8 billion budget for the next two fiscal years. To keep in touch and give us your opinion, remember to call the Capitol at 1-800-372-7181 and leave a message, or email me at [email protected]


      Senator Thayer’s Week 9 Report from Frankfort

      Frankfort —With only 13 working days remaining before we adjourn our 2006 regular session, the pace in Frankfort is remarkable. We received the House budget proposal, over 500 pages, early this week and are reviewing the information late into the night in order to have a thorough understanding of the numbers. As always, I am very aware that this represents your money and we must be wise about its use.

      However, the Senate has also been busy passing legislation. We all remember the mining deaths in West Virginia just a couple months ago. We have a large mining industry right here in Kentucky and as a result the Senate has taken measures to make miners safer while they are doing their job. Senate Bill 200 would require telephones or other communications equipment in mines so that trapped miners can quickly call mine officials and local authorities in case of an accident. Self-contained breathing devices that can help miners breathe when the air is filled with methane or carbon monoxide would also be posted at regular intervals, along with glowing signs, alarms, and strobe lights that can guide them to safety. The bill also has other clauses that will protect our hard-working miners.

      On another issue concerning public safety, many families have been touched by the harmful effects of illegal drugs. Senate Bill 245 makes three policy changes: 1), persons charged with drug offenses or actively addicted to drugs at the time of arrest will be assessed for drug addiction and courts will be asked to impose enrollment in drug treatment as a condition of release prior to trial; 2), requires the Corrections Cabinet to operate a treatment facility in a minimum security facility for persons whose level of addiction or the seriousness of their crimes require a higher level of security during drug treatment than the usual residential or out-patient treatment program; and 3), requires that persons seeking an alternative to a felony conviction through an existing program known as pre-trial diversion, must complete drug treatment prior to entering the diversion program.

      A person who successfully completes a diversion program can have his or her charges reduced or dismissed, but, if they fail by committing another crime during the diversion period, they are automatically convicted as a felon and sent to the penitentiary. Too many people fail diversion or re-offend while out on bond because they have not addressed the underlying addiction. SB 245 will hopefully be a lifeline to families.

      We have also taken steps to protect people who fight back in self-defense. Under the terms of SB 38, people would be allowed to stand their ground and defend themselves, without being required to run away first. This bill would head off such miscarriages of justice as a thief breaking into a home, then bringing charges against the homeowner who shoots or injures them. The bill is designed to protect law-abiding men and women who are merely protecting themselves, their loved ones, and their property.

      We have a significant number of bills remaining before us, including the $17.8 billion budget for the next two fiscal years. To keep in touch and give us your opinion, remember to call the Capitol at 1-800-372-7181 and leave a message or email me at [email protected]

      Senator Damon Thayer

      District 17


      March 3, 2006

      Senator Thayer’s Week 8 Report from Frankfort

      Frankfort — As we enter the third month of this year’s legislative session, the Senate focused its attention on matters concerning veterans, teachers, abortion and the Ten Commandments.

      The Senate approved House Bill 80, a measure that will ensure that students called up for active duty in the National Guard will be protected academically by having the opportunity to make up their missed work when they return home.

      Another bill relating to veterans was approved in committee this week. It would develop a personal loan program for our returning veterans, as well as the spouses of those who are killed in action. Loans of up to $10,000 could be taken out and used for a variety of reasons. We know how financially difficult it can be to serve in our armed forces, both for our service members and their families, and we hope this can ease some of the financial burden as they re-enter civilian life.

      The full Senate will soon be considering a bill that would guarantee veterans are given preference in state merit-system hiring decisions. In addition, veterans would be granted an interview so they can prove themselves first hand. If more than 10 veterans apply for a position, the 10 most qualified would be guaranteed interviews.

      In a move to increase the safety level of our children at school, the Senate passed SB 109. This bill would eliminate a loophole in current law by allowing local school officials to reassign a teacher to non-classroom duties while they are facing drug charges, including illegal use of prescription drugs. Presently, these teachers cannot be moved into positions that do not deal with children until they are convicted. Another section of the bill stipulates that school personnel who are reprimanded or disciplined for drug-related offenses must undergo random testing for 12 months.

      Senate Bill 125, which we passed and sent to the House, is designed to make sure women considering abortions have all the facts and know their options before the day of the procedure. The law currently states that they must receive this information at least 24 hours in advance, but some clinics simply play a pre-recorded message over the phone for their patients, without the opportunity for give-and-take with their health care professional. This bill will make sure women talk to a live person, face-to-face, before they finalize this important decision. Hopefully, it will result in fewer abortions.

      Finally, the Senate recognized the importance of the Ten Commandments in American history this week by passing House Bill 277. This legislation clearly spells out the impact of the Ten Commandments on our legal system and makes it clear that they can be posted in public spaces within the proper historical context, as the U.S. Supreme Court has allowed. We also amended the bill in the Senate to request that the Ten Commandments monument that was donated to the Commonwealth in 1971 be restored to the Capitol grounds.

      As we enter the last weeks of the 2006 session, we will be debating some of the toughest issues our state faces and working to pass a budget, which the House of Representatives should be sending our way shortly. Please keep in touch and give us your opinion, remember to call us at 1-800-372-7181 and leave a message or email me at [email protected]


      February 24, 2006

      Week 7 Report Senator Thayer Promotes Efficient Government

      Frankfort – We are more than half way through with the 2006 General Assembly and the pace of session life has picked up significantly. The Senate Appropriations and Revenue Committee, has been holding daily meetings to discuss the various demands on the budget. We expect to receive the House proposal by next Friday which would leave us about two weeks to review, revise, and present the Senate budget. The time constraints are extremely tight and the requests many. Many of you have called or written me with your priorities. I appreciate this very much as it is because of your input that our great Commonwealth moves forward.

      Two important bills, House Bills 171 and 135, passed out of the State and Local Government Committee which I chair and were voted out unanimously from the Senate this week. House Bill 171 cuts government red tape, increases government transparency, and saves you, the taxpayer, money. Currently, local governments spend much of your money paying newspapers to publish public notices such as audits and delinquent tax lists multiple times at a noncompetitive price. With the signing of HB 171, however, cost savings would occur because of a smaller font size, reduced number of mandatory publications, Internet publications, and a more reasonable advertising rate. For example, fewer audit reports and smaller font would save over 66 percent and new advertising rates would save an additional 5-10 percent.

      House Bill 135 provides greater flexibility to local governments in scheduling elections during a state of emergency. The legislation increases the number of days from 20 to 35 in which a delayed election is required to be rescheduled and removes the limitation on only state elections, among other provisions. Furthermore, it directs the State Board of Elections to include “election emergency contingency plans” to election officer training. In a state of emergency such as an earthquake or a flood or a man-made one, local governments must be prepared to follow through with election plans but on a more practical timeline.

      Please continue to contact me toll-free at 800/372-7181 to let me know what issues are important to you


      FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

      February 17, 2006

      Senator Thayer’s Week 6 Report from Frankfort   

      Throughout this session of the General Assembly, one of my main focuses has been to increase the support that we give our soldiers serving our nation in the War on Terror. In a measure passed this week, we improved a House Bill to help alleviate the financial burden of our men and women in uniform.House Bill 286 initially eliminated the state income tax on our members of the armed forces, including active-duty National Guard and reservists, who are killed in action. Once the bill came to the Senate we made it stronger by exempting from taxation all military compensation for our soldiers, sailors and airmen. These brave men and women deserve tax relief right now, not just after they have made the ultimate sacrifice.

The bill would make the tax relief retroactive, so that those families filing tax returns right now could get an immediate tax refund on their 2005 military salaries. This not only shows our respect for military families, but also it provides an economic incentive for soldiers near Fort Campbell to live in Kentucky rather than Tennessee.On the issue of education, two important measures also received unanimous support in the Senate.

Senate Bill 130 requires all high school juniors to take the ACT (American College Test). The ACT has several major advantages, including the quick return of test scores and the ability to compare scores to students in neighboring states. Although adding another test for our kids can seem tedious sometimes, there is much evidence that shows taking this measure will lead to more Kentucky children going on to higher education.Not enough of Kentucky high school students go on to college for a two-year or four-year degree. Of those that do, too many are academically unprepared and must take remedial courses. They pay college prices, but aren’t getting college credit for these courses. By taking the ACT, we can see how ready they are for a college curriculum, and take steps during their senior year to get them caught up.Another education bill we passed this week was Senate Bill 115. It authorizes a pilot project on civics education and literacy in 10 Kentucky high schools. We need our young people to be engaged and mindful of how to effect change through the government. Another exciting aspect of this three-year program is that even students who don’t attend one of the 10 involved schools can take part through the Kentucky Virtual High School. This is just the latest step in our nationally recognized efforts to improve civic literacy in the commonwealth.Finally, we passed Senate Bill 103 which would effectively increase the speed limit on interstate highways to 70 miles per hour, and raise the limit on other four-lane highways to 65 miles per hour. Those sections currently with lower-than-maximum speed limits, mostly in urban areas or winding sections, would still have lower limits.A study has shown that we should not expect any more accidents with this slight increase in the speed limit, because these sections of road were originally designed to handle these speeds safely. If this passes the House and is signed into law by Governor Fletcher, Kentucky would join 31 other states at the 70-mph maximum, including four of the seven surrounding states.Again, I encourage constituents with any concerns or questions to contact me on the toll-free message line at 1-800-372-7181 or on the toll-free TTY (teletypewriter) message line, 1-800-896-0305 or email me at [email protected] Senator Damon ThayerDistrict 17

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February 10, 2006

Senator Thayer’s Week 5 Report from Frankfort

Frankfort – This week, the Senate focused on proposals meant to make Kentucky’s economy more competitive by working on business and education issues. Senate Bill 130 was passed out of the Senate Education Committee in a bipartisan vote. SB 130 has earned broad support from the Council on Postsecondary Education, the School Board Association, and the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce because of the progressive steps it takes to prepare our students for higher education. It requires that all 11th grade public school students take the ACT (American College Test) college entrance assessment and placement exam in the spring of 2009 and thereafter and requires the ACT to be included as part of CATS (Commonwealth Accountability Testing System). Education experts testified that in states such as Colorado and Illinois where similar legislation has passed, more high school seniors have gone on to colleges and universities. This proposal, once passed by the full Senate, will lay the groundwork for greater academic achievement for our children.Another education bill, Senate Bill 51, passed the full Senate unanimously this week. This bill allows teachers and school employees injured in an assault on the job to be absent from work without loss of leave or benefits for a period of one year. Unfortunately schools, like other workplaces, have experienced increased violence. Teachers and school employees often serve in thankless jobs and this is one way that we as a community and a state can help them in difficult circumstances.Senate Bill 113 passed out of the Senate and provides that if a person’s street name or postal address changes, even though they have not physically moved, then the license holder shall have that information corrected on their license free of charge. They would no longer have to pay the $20 fee for a new driver’s license when their location stays the same, but the postal address changes. This legislation is another example of how we, as your elected officials, should be making government more responsive to your needs.We also passed two bills that will help streamline business regulations. The cost of doing business should not be increased because of excessive paperwork and burdensome rules that often lack common-sense. These newly passed bills help address these problems.Finally, Thursday was declared “First Responders’ Day.” It is with much pride that the Senate passed a resolution honoring these brave men and women who are the first ones at a scene ready to help where people need it most.

Again, I encourage constituents with any concerns or questions to contact me on the toll-free message line at 1-800-372-7181 or on the toll-free TTY (teletypewriter) message line, 1-800-896-0305, or email me at [email protected]


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Judicial Branch, legislators request funding for a Family Court judge to serve Bourbon, Scott and Woodford counties

FRANKFORT, Ky., Jan. 31, 2006 ¾ A request to fund a Family Court judge for Bourbon, Scott and Woodford counties has been included in the Judicial Branch’s budget recommendation to the 2006 Kentucky General Assembly, Chief Justice Joseph E. Lambert announced today.

Circuit Judges Paul Isaacs and Robert Johnson, who serve these three counties, sent the funding request in a letter to the members of the Supreme Court of Kentucky. The court’s seven justices approved the proposal after Justice John C. Roach advocated on its behalf.

“This judicial circuit was very much in favor of the Family Court amendment,” said Justice Roach, who serves Central Kentucky’s 5th Appellate District. “In 2002, 78 percent of the voters in Bourbon, Scott and Woodford counties said yes to pass the amendment. This circuit is also one of the state’s most heavily populated that is still without a Family Court. I believe it’s time to help these counties deal with their heavy family law caseload.”

“I made establishing a Family Court one of my top priorities after taking the bench,” said Judge Johnson. “Children and their families deserve a more integrated system, with one judge hearing their entire case instead of several judges hearing bits and pieces. I have always placed a priority on family cases, but establishing a Family Court should expedite these cases even more.”

“With the increased caseload involving families, a new judgeship for this circuit is appropiate,” said Judge Isaacs. “This area is growing and the courts must expand to continue to meet the needs of its citizens.”

Those who expressed approval for the new judgeship included the state legislators who represent these counties: Sen. Julian Carroll (Woodford), Sen. R.J. Palmer II (Bourbon), Sen. Damon Thayer (Scott), House Majority Whip Rep. Joe Barrows (Woodford), Rep. Carolyn Belcher (Bourbon) and Rep. Charlie Hoffman (Scott).

“I will strongly support and seek funding for this new Family Court judge,” said Sen. Thayer. “Voters here strongly supported the Family Court amendment and Judge Rob Johnson has made me aware of the need to effectively deal with the growing caseload. I hope we are successful in securing the needed funds.”

“I think it would be great for our citizens to have the opportunity to elect a new judge in the 14th Circuit,” said Rep. Barrows.

This Family Court funding request has been included in the 2006-2008 Judicial Budget Recommendation that has been submitted to the 2006 General Assembly.

Family Court is a division of Circuit Court, Kentucky’s highest trial court level. It employs full-time judges with the same qualifications as those who serve other divisions of Circuit Court. Family Court provides one judge to hear all of a family’s issues relating to divorce, child custody, adoption, termination of parental rights, domestic violence, child abuse and neglect. Because Family Court is devoted exclusively to cases involving families and children, family law cases do not compete for court time with criminal and other civil cases. Family Court was established as a permanent part of the Kentucky Constitution when the Family Court amendment passed in 2002 by 75 percent of the vote. Today Family Court serves more than 2 million Kentuckians in 43 counties.


January 26, 2006

Thayer Recommends Scott County Resident Benny Sargent to Kentucky Rails to Trails Council

Frankfort – Senator Damon Thayer (R-Georgetown) announced that, upon his recommendation, Benny Sargent has been appointed by Governor Ernie Fletcher to the Kentucky Rails to Trails Council. Sargent will be joining the commission immediately.

“I want to help protect equine interests at the state and federal levels,” said Sargent. “As I begin my work on this Council I hope to help facilitate the best use of these beautiful areas of our state.”

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“Benny is one of the foremost experts on Kentucky horse trails and is highly qualified for this position, and is the type of person Governor Fletcher can count on to fill these important seats,” Thayer said. “I congratulate Benny on this appointment and was happy to recommend him to the Governor.”

Sargent and his wife, Cheryl Lee, operate High Point Equestrian Center in Scott County where they are involved in the training and breeding of quarter horses and open horses. Mr. Sargent is immediate past president of the Kentucky Quarter Horse Association. He is also the current National Director of the American Quarter Horse Association.

The Kentucky Rails to Trails Council is a not-for-profit corporation, whose mission is to enhance the quality of life in our communities by developing a state wide rail/trail program. Kentucky Rails to Trails Council works with local organizations to develop greenways and trails, and as a clearinghouse for project funding, design and management of trail systems. KRTC also seeks to increase public awareness of greenway and rail/trail multi benefits.

Senator Thayer represents the 17th District which includes Owen, Scott, Grant, and Southern Kenton County. Along with being chairman of the State and Local Government Committee, Senator Thayer sits on the Transportation Committee, Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee, and Licensing and Occupations Committee. He is Senate Chairman of the Horse Farming Subcommittee, the Local Taxation Task Force and the Task Force on Elections and Constitutional Amendments.

Senator Thayer welcomes comments or questions toll free at 800-372-7181


January 20, 2006

Kentucky Senate 2006: Week 3

As the Senate moves through the 2006 General Session, I wanted to update you again on the progress we have made for Kentucky. This week, the Senate passed Senate Bill 50, which would allow local communities in Kentucky to receive grants for recycling. The money, part of the $5 million Kentucky Pride Fund, would be aimed at salvaging solid waste materials, such as metals, that often end up in public landfills. The Kentucky Pride Fund has been primarily aimed at cleaning up illegal dumps throughout Kentucky, but by sharing that money with local recycling efforts, we can achieve the same overarching goal: to keep our communities clean and healthy for our families. Recycling could also help local governments — and Kentucky taxpayers — save money. Each ton of waste that is recycled instead of being dumped in a landfill can save up to $1,000. We also approved a bill this week that could help our smartest young students get a head start on their education. SB 35 will make sure that five-year-olds who have shown the academic and social skills to skip a grade can have that opportunity. Some districts that have only half-day kindergarten cannot put these bright students in the first-grade program because they are not reimbursed fully by the state. This proposal will change that and allow our most promising young children to begin their classroom experience. Besides the legislation we as lawmakers have proposed, we also had the chance last week to hear Governor Fletcher’s proposals for our biennial budget. The governor reported that the state saved $142 million last year, through greater efficiency and other cost-saving measures. This surplus, combined with relatively optimistic revenue projections, means our budgetary outlook is more hopeful than in recent years. On the other hand, the funding demands facing Medicaid, health insurance for our teachers and state workers, and pensions for those employees could easily absorb a significant portion of those funds, So we will have to stretch every dollar we take in — your tax dollars — to make the wisest investments for our future.Our children’s education — one of the primary responsibilities of state government — will also receive high priority as we investigate the best way to spend our precious financial resources. Among the governor’s proposals is a two percent increase in teacher pay across the board, along with incentives for teachers in low-performing schools, high-need academic areas such as math and science, those with national certification and high achievement, and in areas of the state where teachers can easily be lured away by higher salaries in bordering states.The governor also proposed lengthening the school year by two days for students and another day for teacher training over the next two years. While the extra days would add significant costs, the idea is worth investigating. We must make our future workforce competitive in a global economy.The governor also recommended $23.5 million for preschool programs, a boost that would bring us to where reformers envisioned in 1990 — fully-funded preschool for every youngster in the commonwealth.The Senate will continue working on issues affecting the Commonwealth throughout this session, and I look forward to hearing from you if you have any questions or concerns. Please call me on the toll-free message line at 1-800-372-7181 or on the TTY (teletypewriter) message line, which is also toll-free, 1-800-896-0305, or email me at [email protected] Damon Thayer

District 17


Thayer: Speed up I-75 job
By Stephenie Steitzer
Kentucky Post staff reporter

FRANKFORT – State Sen. Damon Thayer is hoping to convince the governor and the Transportation Cabinet to accelerate the widening of Interstate 75 between Williamstown and Sadieville in time for the World Equestrian Games in 2010.Between $75 million and $100 million in federal highway money already has been secured to widen a 14.7-mile stretch from four lanes to six lanes. Construction dates for four different sections of the stretch in Grant and Scott counties are set for 2008, 2009 and 2010.Thayer, R-Georgetown, said the state needs to accelerate the project so construction is finished in time for the event at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington in the fall of 2010. A shortage of hotel rooms in central Kentucky likely would bring travelers to Northern Kentucky for available rooms. He also said many of the anticipated 300,000 visitors would fly into the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport.

“I believe it would behoove us to accelerate the I-75 widening project to accommodate the World Equestrian Games,” Thayer said.

Thayer said the portion he wants accelerated is dangerous because vehicles bottleneck into it from the north and south, causing traffic to slow and become congested.

“It’s a bit harrowing,” he said.

Gov. Ernie Fletcher is expected to recommend changes to the state’s six-year transportation plan later this month. Fletcher spokeswoman Jodi Whitaker said he is taking Thayer’s request under consideration. She said the governor has asked Commerce Secretary Jim Host to study infrastructure needs to accommodate the World Equestrian Games.

Horse park officials say it will be the largest sporting event ever in Kentucky with more than 300,000 people expected to attend the two-week games. It will be the first time the event will be staged outside Europe since its inauguration in 1990. Transportation Cabinet spokesman Doug Hogan said the Cabinet would try to accommodate any requests by the governor to make infrastructure improvements for the event.

“Obviously, the World Equestrian Games is such a huge event and will be such an economic windfall for the state, and transportation infrastructure improvements will play a part in that,” he said.Most of Northern Kentucky’s 7,100 hotel rooms are about an hour and 10-minute drive from the horse park. Northern Kentucky Convention and Visitors Bureau President Tom Caradonio said he has had one meeting with state tourism officials to start making plans on how to handle the event. Publication date: 01-11-2006


2006 GENERAL ASSEMBLY REPORT:  WEEK #2

  • The Senate is moving forward through the session as Senate committee meetings are now in full swing and the Senate has begun debating bills concerning health care, education, and veterans assistance. On Jan. 9, Governor Fletcher presented his State of the Commonwealth Address where he focused on further strengthening our economy in order to benefit the people of Kentucky.

    According to the Governor, our economy is on a steady and continual rise: 65,000 new jobs have been created in our state during the past two years and $5 billion in new and expanded manufacturing investments have come into Kentucky. While this growth is impressive, we need to continue creating a more business friendly environment by working with – not against – industry and business.

    Tax modernization is working for Kentucky. We cut the corporate license tax and closed tax loopholes on companies that exported their profits outside Kentucky. This plan was meant to encourage companies to invest more of their money in Kentucky, and they have. One great example is Toyota’s commitment to build hybrid cars in Kentucky, right here in the 17th Senate District in Georgetown.

    I have been listening to constituents and advocacy groups to ensure that we create a Senate version of the state budget that will continue expanding our economy in Kentucky. It must support the educational needs of our children, improve the infrastructure of our roads and other transportation requirements, and give health care the attention it deserves while spending your taxpayer money with the greatest efficiency possible. We must always manage a balance between Kentuckians’ true needs and the best uses for your hard-earned tax money.

    The budget debate will soon come before the Senate, and we intend to work on many policy issues until the budget becomes the primary focus of Senate business. As the legislative process continues to gain momentum in the weeks to come, it is a very important time for my constituents to contact me about the issues that are important to them. Any ideas, questions, or comments that you give me will only help me serve you better.

    The Senate will continue working on issues affecting the Commonwealth throughout this session, and I look forward to hearing from you if you have any questions or concerns. Please call me on the toll-free message line at 1-800-372-7181 or on the TTY (teletypewriter) message line, which is also toll-free, 1-800-896-0305.

    Senator Damon Thayer


    December 28, 2005

    2006 Session Preview from Senator Damon Thayer

    Frankfort―As your State Senator, I would like to update you on the issues I have been working on since the last session as we move forward into the 2006 session.

    Senate Bill 1 would allow the voters of Kentucky to change the Constitution so that a future General Assembly could: a) Set a dollar limit on the amount a jury can award for non-economic and punitive damages, this amount cannot be less than $250,000; b) Require a party who brings a civil action to submit the claim before an alternate dispute resolution system for health care providers which should ease the increasing burden of liability insurance. The amendment could also allow the Assembly the power to change the time period in which people have to file such claims.

    We will also address the issues of our veterans in many ways next year. The proposed law, called the “Military Families Benefits Bill,” tackles the needs facing the men and women who serve overseas as well as their spouses and children. The amount of time our National Guardsmen and other members of the military spend away from their families places pressure on those family members remaining behind. The purpose of this bill is to begin identifying solutions that will relieve the pressure on these families. The comprehensive measure takes on families’ needs in several separate components, ranging from financial assistance to protecting custodial rights.

    Another important issue that we’ll be working on in the Senate is a Sexual Assault Bill that would strengthen the laws surrounding punishment for offenders. The Senate intends to pass strong legislation that will protect Kentucky’s children by giving law enforcement officers more tools to track the movements of convicted sexual predators to ensure they stay away from schools, playgrounds and daycare centers. Tightening the penalties for child pornography is also being examined.

    Also, the US Supreme Court handed down a ruling this summer on eminent domain (government taking of private property), known as the Kelo decision. The Supreme Court upheld a Connecticut law allowing cities to take land for use in economic development projects. The Program Review Committee is currently examining Kentucky’s laws to see if they need to be strengthened. The study found that the circumstances that happened inConnecticut would be extremely unlikely to occur here because our laws have several safeguards in place.

    I plan to continue moving forward through the next three months to help improve the lives of our citizens. For further information on pending legislation and the General Assembly, please visit the Legislative Research Commission Web site at www.lrc.state.ky.us. If you have any questions or concerns, please call me on the toll-free message line at 1-800-372-7181. The TTY message line is also toll-free, 1-800-896-0305.

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    Sen. Thayer Announces Funds Spent on County RoadResurfacing in 2005Frankfort – State Senator Damon Thayer (R-Georgetown) announced today that the Transportation Cabinet has spent nearly $2 million on resurfacing road projects in OwenCounty, more than $2 million in Scott County, more than $2.4 million in Kenton County,and more than $800,000 in Grant County in 2005.

    “These projects will not only improve the safety of our county roads, but also help increase the economic development in these counties ,” Senator Thayer said. “I will continue working with local officials to determine the best plan for future road resurfacing projects that can increase access and safety for our residents.”

    The following is the list of routes and the amount spent on resurfacing each route in OwenCounty:

    US Route 127 -$333,385-

    KY Route 227 – $726,718

    KY Route 845 – $179,582

    KY Route 36 – $146,400

    KY Route 2018 -$34,428

    KY Route 607- $52,977

    KY Route 978 – $158,663

    KY Route 1982 – $210,396

    Total: $1,842,549

    The following is the list of routes and the amount spent on resurfacing each route in ScottCounty:

    Porter Road, Muddy Ford, and Iron Works – $382,256.96

    Georgetown By-Pass – $876,376.63

    US 460 – Main Street – $465,476.86

    North Broadway 25 to Clayton – $406.445.00

    Total: $2,130,555.40

    The following is the list of routes and the amount spent on resurfacing each route inKenton County:

    KY Route 16 – $323,772

    KY Route 17 – $210,072

    KY Route 371 – $122,146

    US 25 – $602,053

    KY Route 177 – $61,036

    KY Route 3076 – $32,327

    KY Route 3072 – $180,091

    KY Route 536 – $125,189

    KY Route 1017 – $15,629

    Total: $2,408,922

    The following is the list of routes and the amount spent on resurfacing each route in GrantCounty:

    I-75 -$119,113

    KY Route 3025 – $61,658

    KY Route 36 – $96,634

    KY Route 22 -$234,051

    KY Route 330 – $125,486

    KY Route 467- $113,116

    KY Route 2937 – $99,790

     Total: $875,848

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