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Source : Gov. Andy Beshear
January 11, 2022
Author : Alex Bustillos
Kentucky was the lucky recipient of more than $11.2 billion in new investments in 2021, with a whopping 18,000 new full-time jobs added. Citing its relationship with industry giants ike Ford Motor Company, Toyota, Pratt Industries, GE Appliances, and Amazon, Governor Andy Beshear’s press release states that his budget aims at preparing his state to “secure the next world-class company while aiming to provide every Kentucky region with that amazing opportunity.”
“We have the responsibility and the resources to meet this moment. To be bold and to leapfrog other states. Not to tread water or punt on third down,” Governor Beshear said. “With these dollars, my budget targets investments to create and attract the jobs of the future and works to align workforce readiness with business needs to ensure we can fill the high-quality jobs that are coming our way.”
As such, the budget calls for huge investments into workforce development, from grants to educational institutions to unemployment insurance, commercial driver training, healthcare education centers, talent attraction campaigns and more.
Additional funds are dedicated to identifying locations for companies to move to. According to the budget’s Executive Summary, $250 million would be made available for “land acquisition, site assembly, site preparation and improvement, infrastructure-water, wastewater, utilities, broadband; construction or improvement of buildings, environmental remediation, architectural/engineering/surveying professional services.”
There’s also $10 million for the construction and fit-out of a life sciences lab in Covington and $75 million for an AgriTech R&D facility in the eastern part of the state.
In terms of transportation the governor is including a “historic” one-time investment of $250 million from the General Fund for Major Transportation Infrastructure Projects “to lock in an ability for Kentucky to meet an expected state share of potential federal competitive grants for major transportation infrastructure projects.” Projects include the replacement of the Brent Spence Bridge, the I-69 Ohio River crossing in Hendersonville, and the Mountain Parkway Project.
Meanwhile, the recently-passed Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will also give the state a 22 percent increase in funding from the Federal Highway Trust Fund in Fiscal Year 2022 and a two percent increase in the following four years. This fund matches state funds 80-20.
The budget also calls for almost $500 million over two years for a clean drinking water and wastewater program. The governor is also calling for $50 million towards development, rehab and maintenance of the state’s airports, and $200 million for improvements to state parks.
"The state is rapidly recovering from the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and saw record new private sector investment in 2021,” the press release states. “The state’s successes under Gov. Beshear’s leadership have vaulted Kentucky’s finances to a historic level, which has set the table for game-changing investments.”
Finally, the governor is calling for a record $2 billion additional investment in pre-K-12 education, not mincing words in outlining its necessity: “Perhaps the most important step in ensuring we are never a flyover state ever again is investing in our teachers, schools and students. We are the destination, but to stay a world-class destination for world-class companies, we must have a world-class workforce. And that starts with education.”