Throughout Kentucky, our transportation systems need updating and replacing. Much of the infrastructure was built in the 1950s and 1960 and around 1,000 bridges and 1,200 miles of highway are in desperate need of being rebuilt. The latest White House infrastructure report gave Kentucky a grade of C-. Quality roads and bridges are vital to connecting our state and encouraging businesses to choose Kentucky as a location for them to build and grow. This is something we need to build together today so that generations to come have safe transportation routes across the state and the nation.
Currently in Washington infrastructure bills are being discussed that would provide funds for infrastructure repair and development across the country. While definitely costly, the writers of these proposed bills have worked hard to detail where the money will come from in taxes. We must be willing to put in the effort and money now before it is too late and we fall even more behind as a nation in our infrastructure. These bills, if passed, would allow Kentucky to update stretches of interstate that are over 60 years old, to repair and replace bridges that are aging, completion of highways in Appalachia, and more. Natural disasters, such as hurricane Ida, vividly remind us of the damage climate change can have on infrastructure, and thus of our need to upgrade infrastructure across America so we are ready for future storms and natural disasters. In addition to having been built many years ago, much of the infrastructure across America was not designed to withstand the storms and environmental stressors that we are seeing today.
Updating infrastructure across America is a daunting task, and the need to build new infrastructure in addition to the updates adds layers of complexity to the challenge. However, I support taking action now, specifically focused on the following areas, to ensure Americans are able to travel throughout their country easily and cheaply.
Roads and bridges. As mentioned above, many roads throughout America are in need of updates and, in some cases, complete rebuilds. I would push to see a focus on roads that connect rural areas to be either completed or repaired. This is vital to the wellbeing of rural communities as they need access to travel if they are to engage with the rest of the state and if businesses, and other economic opportunities, are going to consider offices in rural areas.
Airports. Air travel continues to be a key method of travel across America and around the world. Airports need continued funding to ensure well maintained runways and systems to provide passengers with a safe experience. As more and more people travel, airports also need to look at expansions to ensure passengers can travel safely and quickly as needed.
Trains. America is one of the few developed countries without a high speed railway system. I have had the opportunity to experience travel via high speed rail and it provides an alternative to air travel that makes sense across America. The current proposed infrastructure bill would give $66 billion. However, this money would be mostly about maintenance instead of developing modern rail systems with high speed trains. While the current Amtrak system has served people in America well, I believe it is time to invest in high speed trains that will provide Americans more choices when it comes to travel and hopefully help connect Americans together with affordable options for travel.
Public transportation. For most cities in the USA, public transportation is in need of major overhauls and change. Public transportation is vital to a healthy city as many people depend on public transportation for their daily lives such as to get to and from work. Cities, such as Louisville, have a bus system, but residents often complain of long wait times which affect their ability to rely on public transportation, for example to get them to work on time. I believe that cities need to aggressively look at their public transportation systems to ensure they are reliable and serve the people well. Many people who rely on public transportation may not have the resources for alternate methods of transportation. Thus, if we cannot guarantee an accessible and reliable method of public transportation I believe that we are creating roadblocks for hard working people in our cities who are dependent on public transportation to keep their jobs and provide for their families.
Infrastructure across America is sadly in need of much work. What needs to be accomplished will not be done through one bill alone or one solution. However, I believe that we need to start now with intentional and aggressive solutions so that we can see more effective and reliable infrastructure across America to serve the people. If elected I will fight to see infrastructure improved so that America can ensure our country is well connected and people have access to affordable transportation no matter where they live and where they want to go.