Here's what Kentucky stands to get from the Senate infrastructure package

Morgan Watkins
Louisville Courier Journal

The U.S. House on Friday passed the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill to modernize highways, rebuild water lines and provide money for broadband development. It is the largest transportation spending package in U.S. history.

In a rare bipartisan moment, the Senate first passed the bill in August, but it was held up until Nov. 5 by political wrangling.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and all of Kentucky's Republican House members voted against the bill. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky., voted for the plan.

Upon the Senate's passage, McConnell's office laid out the expected benefits for Kentucky, totaling $4.6 billion over five years.

Here's a look at some of the funding Kentucky is lined up to get:

Highways, roads, bridges

McConnell's office said the state would get at least $69 million to help it complete its portions of the Appalachian Development Highway System, which is a highway network that connects Appalachia to national interstates. 

Plus, the infrastructure bill would designate the Louie B. Nunn Cumberland Expressway as a spur of Interstate 65, making it eligible for federal aid.

Kentucky also would get $438 million in bridge-specific funding to support efforts to rehabilitate, repair and replace bridges across the state. 

More funds would be up for grabs through pools of grant money the commonwealth could compete for, including: 

  • $12.5 billion for bridge projects, with awards of at least $50 million for regionally significant bridges with costs that exceed $100 million;
  • $3.2 billion for nationally and regionally significant highway and rail projects;
  • $7.5 billion for locally and regionally significant surface transportation projects. 

McConnell's office indicated grants could give Kentucky a chance to address issues like the outdated and congested Brent Spence Bridge that connects the commonwealth with Cincinnati. (For decades, officials have failed to advance plans to build a new bridge alongside it.)

More:'We're in the ninth inning': Infrastructure bill could create path forward for Brent Spence Bridge

The Brent Spence Bridge spans the Ohio River on the Ohio-Kentucky border in Cincinnati, Ohio on April 2, 2021. The bridge, which connects Covington to Cincinnati via Interstates 71 and 75,  is considered to be "functionally obsolete" due to the amount of daily traffic it carries, which is nearly double for its original design. (Photo by Jeff Dean / AFP) (Photo by JEFF DEAN/AFP via Getty Images)

In particular, the Republican senator's office said in a news release that the infrastructure bill includes $5 billion for the National Infrastructure Project Assistance grant program, which "supports multi-modal, multi-jurisdictional projects, like the Brent Spence Corridor project."

Broadband, airports and more

Kentucky would receive at least $100 million for broadband internet initiatives via a grant program meant to expand broadband access to new and underserved places.

The infrastructure bill also includes $25 billion for improvements to airport infrastructure, and Kentucky airports definitely would get a chunk of that money since the dollars would be distributed through a specific formula. 

Kentucky would get $391 million for public transportation projects, as well as up to $418 million for clean water and drinking water programs.

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It also would be in line to receive a portion of the $11.2 billion the infrastructure package includes for efforts to reclaim abandoned mine lands.

McConnell's office said many eastern Kentucky counties would benefit from $1 billion the bill would send to the Appalachian Regional Commission.

His office also said the state would benefit from a $1 billion State and Local Cybersecurity Grant Program.

The commonwealth would be able to apply for other grants that could come from these pools of money:

  • $1.5 billion for revitalizing contaminated (or potentially contaminated) brownfield sites
  • $4.7 billion to deal with abandoned oil and gas wells

Morgan Watkins is The Courier Journal's chief political reporter. Contact her at mwatkins@courierjournal.com. Follow her on Twitter: @morganwatkins26.