Journal-Times (Grayson, KY)


January 22, 2014

Three quarters of a billion for a road?

Jan. 22, 2014 — Can you imagine the impact of three quarters of a billion dollars?

That’s the amount Gov. Steve Beshear and a host of mountain politicians used when they announced plans to widen the Bert T. Combs Mountain Parkway to four lanes between Campton and Prestonsburg.

However, spending $753 million for what House Speaker Greg Stumbo calls the “most promised highway in history" has a clinker in the financing plan.

The first $595 million would be paid from state and federal highway funds but the other $158 million would be paid by travelers in the form of tolls on the entire road from Winchester east.

This means those who live in the mountains would be paying for the road a second time.

It was a toll road from 1963 until the original construction bonds were paid off in 1985.

We’re not necessarily opposed to the project but, at this point in the history of East Kentucky, is that the best use of that much money?

One critic said the only impact of the wider highway would be to cut 10 minutes off the driving time from Prestonsburg to Lexington.

We wonder if that huge sum of money wouldn’t be better spent on job retraining for unemployed coal miners or low interest lows for startup businesses or expanded broadband services or for providing clean drinking water and sewage treatment for the entire region.

Those who believe a four-lane highway will automatically bring economic prosperity should look at Wolfe County with its 41 percent poverty rate and an adult population where only 35 percent are available for employment.

Frankly, we doubt that a new road will mean much to the unemployed who worry about how to feed and shelter their families.

Text Only
  • Juvenile justice bill finally wins passage

    We complained in this space last month that the General Assembly, specifically the Senate, was headed down the wrong path in its handling of Senate Bill 200, a carefully-crafted, broadly supported effort to modernize Kentucky’s juvenile justice laws.

    April 16, 2014

  • Numbers say stop fussin’ and start fixin’!

    We’ve said it before and we’re saying it again. It is long past time for Republicans like U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell to stop complaining about the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and start working with the other party to fix the pieces of the massive law that need fixing.

    April 9, 2014

  • Benching Rupp Arena project a mistake

    Folks who believe that college basketball is more important than anything else in Kentucky apparently don’t serve in the State Senate.

    April 2, 2014

  • Snow days decision can wait no longer

    We had hoped this editorial would not have been necessary by the time you read it in today’s issue of the Journal-Times.

    March 26, 2014

  • Are some legislators smarter than experts?

    Ready - shoot - aim. No good deed goes unpunished. There’s the right way, the wrong way and the Frankfort way. We could go on with pithy sayings about the strange happenings at the State Capitol when the Kentucky General Assembly is in session.

    March 19, 2014

  • Shouldn’t majority rule mean smoke-free?

    Recent statewide polls show as many as 65 percent of Kentucky voters say they are in favor of outlawing smoking in workplaces and public facilities, including restaurants and bars.

    March 12, 2014

  • Legalized marijuana, hemp must be explored

    Whether you call it marijuana or cannabis or whether you believe someone can get high on industrial hemp, Kentucky is making history with both plants.

    March 5, 2014

  • We must protect against dating violence

    We were encouraged when the leadership of the Kentucky House of Representatives came forward last month with House Bill 8 to amend the domestic violence protection laws to shield unmarried individuals in dating relationships.

    February 26, 2014

  • Did Bluegrass Poll predict our future?

    Life may have become much simpler for Kentucky voters recently when the Bluegrass Poll released its most recent survey.

    February 19, 2014

  • Senate race poll attracts national spotlight

    “Mitch has met his match” shouted the headline on the Huffington Post, a trendy, online news aggregator and blog founded by socialite Arianna Huffington.

    February 12, 2014