Like all states, Kentucky has Constitutional limitations on how transportation funds can be generated and allocated. It is commonly held that it is unconstitutional for gas tax funds to be used for public transportation. It is also prohibited for a local jurisdiction to levy a sales tax. These strictures may be addressed in the current legislative session with the proposal to create a local authority that can use tolls and other pricing techniques to pay for local transportation projects.
Finally, a particular challenge in Kentucky is the gulf between urban and rural legislators. Kentucky is fundamentally a rural state and many legislators are unfamiliar with transit. They believe it’s an urban issue when in fact there is federal public transportation funding going to all 120 Kentucky counties. Too often, they don’t realize that the vans running around their districts are public transportation geared to the needs of their constituents, just as 40-foot buses are in larger communities.