The state of Kentucky is currently negotiating agreements over grants totaling $1.6 billion that will provide funding for the Brent Spence Bridge project that’s set to break ground in 2023.
Speaking at Tuesday’s Interim Joint Committee on Transportation meeting, Kentucky Transportation Secretary Jim Gray said the state is working with federal agencies on the planning of the construction and the environmental portions of the project.
The interim legislative session is held outside of a regular legislative session. During the interim, legislators discuss policy and other important topics, but do not vote on bills.
“We are working diligently with the Federal Highways Administration and leadership to accelerate the planning and the environmental updates,” Gray said, noting that the environmental record dates back to 2012, so they are ensuring it still applies 11 years later.
“The 2012 decision was based on a federally-prescribed evaluation process that included detailed technical and environmental analysis, as well as comprehensive public engagement,” according to the state’s website for the project.
“In accordance with NEPA, a supplemental Environmental Assessment (EA) is being prepared to evaluate impacts that would result from design or policy changes and any impacts that are different due to site-specific conditions that may have changed since 2012,” the website said.
Gray said the Cabinet is also working on the procurement for the project with engineering and construction firms.
“There’s been a good interest in the project,” Gray said. “One of the challenges, of course, in today’s construction environment and that sector is that there is a lot of work. So, we are being very careful to be responsible for the taxpayer dollars.”
In February, Gray and Brent Spence Bridge Project Manager Stacee Hans presented information on the bridge to the House Budget Review Subcommittee on Transportation.
Hans and Gray gave the update after the legislature approved $250 million in matching funds during the 2022 legislative session to apply for a federal grant for the project.
“We have a visible path to construction,” Gray said at the time.
Since the legislature provided those matching funds, the project secured a $1.6 billion grant from the federal government via the 2021 Infrastructure Bill. In January, President Joe Biden visited Covington to tout the funding.