FRANKFORT, KY (January 23, 2023) – The following is a statement from Senator Brandon Storm, R-London, regarding funding awards in Laurel County resulting from the Kentucky General Assembly’s disciplined, pro-growth-minded allocation of taxpayer dollars:
“I’m grateful to serve as a voice for London and Laurel County in Frankfort. The funding awards, a small part of our achievements, highlight the city, county, and region’s progress. Thanks to colleagues in the Kentucky General Assembly and partners like Charter-Spectrum, available funds prioritize crucial infrastructure—including 21st-century infrastructure like broadband.
“Legislative successes, including disciplined budgeting respecting taxpayer dollars and conservative efforts to further reduce the state income tax and now being reflected in Kentuckians’ recent paychecks, show us what is possible. I remain committed to supporting my home city and county. I will remain focused on fiscal responsibility, especially as I work on the next road plan as vice-chair of the Senate Committee.”
BACKGROUND ON FUNDING AWARDS
BROADBAND EXPANSION AWARD – A total of $3,656,347 for broadband expansion efforts thanks to joint funding allocated by the Kentucky General Assembly and put forth by Charter Spectrum
The Kentucky General Assembly has allocated $300 million in federal funding for broadband expansion since 2021. These funds were included in two critical bills, House Bills 320 and 382, which trust Kentucky telecommunication providers such as Charter Spectrum to spearhead expansion efforts by allowing them to apply for funding while providing dollar-for-dollar matching funds the companies must raise. This means a total investment in Kentucky broadband of at least $600 million.
Laurel County is awarded $1,163,392 from broadband funding the Kentucky General Assembly allocated for broadband expansion. Charter Spectrum is supporting efforts by putting forth $2,492,955.
“Spectrum is bringing gigabit broadband to unserved communities across America through federal, state and local partnerships such as our agreement with the Commonwealth,” said Jeff Gehrig, Regional Vice President. “Our investment is making it possible to deliver the high-value broadband, mobile, TV and voice services which is already available in parts of Laurel County. We are providing residents and small businesses superior connectivity at highly competitive prices, backed by a team of skilled local technicians and U.S.-based customer service.”
INDUSTRIAL SITE DEVELOPMENT AND ECONOMIC GROWTH – London-Laurel and County received over $1.5 million to support economic development projects at industrial sites.
Storm and fellow lawmakers included general fund appropriations of $50,000,000 in the fiscal year 2021-2022 and $150,000,000 in the current state budget to support a statewide effort to support upgrades at industrial sites and position Kentucky for continued economic growth. The funding allowed for the Kentucky Product Development Initiative to be created through the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development.
The London-Laurel County Economic Development Authority (LLCEDA) has received a $1,521,819 share of the available grant funding to support economic growth in the Lily Industrial Park next to Aisin Automotive.
See more details via Nita Johnson’s story published in The Sentinel Echo by CLICKING HERE.
SUPPORT FOR LOCAL ROAD IMPROVEMENTS – $300,000 in discretionary funds authorized by lawmakers to the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet to resurface Buffalo Branch Road and Buffalo Road.
$175,000 will support county improvements to Buffalo Road and $125,000 will support improvements to Buffalo Branch Road.
Discretionary funds, also known as FD-39 funds, are administered by the Department of Rural and Municipal Aid. This fund receives roughly $16M per year, $10M of which is available for projects. These monies are used for projects across the commonwealth to help address emergency repair needs and relieve hazardous conditions.
CLEANER WATER PROGRAM AWARDS – Nearly $4 million was awarded to improve water and wastewater systems (hyperlinks are included for more information on projects):
East Laurel Water District – $794,383
West Laurel Water District – $792,300
Laurel County Water District #2 – $786,585
Wood Creek Water District – $738,968
London Utilities Commission – $527,068
Corbin City Utilities Commission – $164,103
The combined funding from the Kentucky General Assembly for water and wastewater infrastructure equals $500 million.
In 2021, through Senate Bill 36, the Kentucky legislature directed a total of almost $250 million from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) of 2021 toward local drinking water and wastewater infrastructure projects; $150 million to counties based on population, $50 million in grants for water projects in underserved or unserved areas. An additional nearly $50 million was set aside for grants to counties with costs greater than allocation.
An additional $250 million in ARPA funds were allocated similarly through House Bill 1 in the 2022 Legislative Session.
Funding authorized by Storm and the Kentucky General Assembly has been—and continues—to be distributed through the Kentucky Infrastructure Authority (KIA), which is permitted to allocate funding to projects meeting the state’s Cleaner Water Program grant criteria.
Visit Legislature.ky.gov for more information on Senator Brandon Storm and details on the ongoing 2024 Legislative Session.
Senator Brandon J. Storm, R-London, represents the 21st Senate District, including Casey, Lincoln, Laurel, and Rockcastle Counties. He recently graduated from the esteemed Henry Toll Fellowship and was the only Kentuckian to participate in the 2023 program. Senator Storm serves as a Senate member of the Interim Joint Committees of Banking and Insurance; Economic Development and Workforce Investment; Judiciary; Local Government; State Government; Transportation; and Tourism, Small Business and Information Technology. He also serves as the co-chair of the Legislative Oversight and Investigations Committee; a member of the Jail and Corrections Reform Task Force; and a member of the Multimodal Freight Transportation System Improvement Task Force.