Courthouse Serves On Through History By: Frank Friday Esquire Director Paying For An Infrastructure Boom By: Frank Friday Esquire Director courthouse in 1901 resulted in some major renovations, including the brass balcony in the 2nd Floor Deed Room for the County Clerk and the tiered balconies in the 4th Floor room above it. These were, at that time, used as book shelves by the Circuit Court Clerk. By the 1970s, with Judicial Reform of our state courts, the building saw all its judiciary officers leave for the new Hall of Justice down 6th Street, and some They say the one thing Democrats agree with President Trump on is the need for an ambitious infrastructure spending program, but what they don’t say is how they would agree to fund it. The biggest potential source of funds for new infrastructure could come from the federal Highway Trust Fund to pay for new roads and bridges. But thanks to more fuel-efficient cars and trucks, and a general plateau-effect of miles being driven, fuel tax revenues for the fund are not growing. In fact, revenues from all excise taxes in the Highway Trust Fund showed no overall growth in the federal fiscal year that ended September 30th. Highway Trust Fund excise tax receipts, net of refunds, were $41.1 billion for the past 12 months, unchanged at .5 percent less than $41.34 billion in the 2016 fiscal year. Highway groups like the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) and state road officials have been pressing the Congress to add a host of other fees and taxes to add to the fund. These range from increased vehicle title fees to excise taxes on bicycle tires! In Kentucky, legislation has been introduced in 2018 to make electric vehicles pay a special registration fee of the building was renovated again in 1981 to accommodate its sole use now as a home for county officers. Today with our merged city and county governments, the building’s massive limestone columns and arches continue to provide a solid home for the Metro Mayor and his staff along with the County Clerk. Government buildings put up in the 20th Century, such as the Urban Government Center, are already emptied in lieu of the gas taxes such machines are able to avoid. Talk of an increase in the gas tax is also occurring but that will face an uphill political battle as it hits regular people hard. Having managed to affect income tax cuts for everyone, it is hard to see Congress wanting to turn around and take a lot that money back in fuel taxes. President Trump has considered raising the federal gas tax from 18.4 cents per gallon (where it has stood since 1993) to 43.4 cents, an increase of 136 percent. Even if phased in over five years, as some suggest, this would aggravate already rising gas prices. A gallon of regular that sold for $2.28 a year ago costs $2.52 today. Critics of gas taxes also point out how easily the money is diverted to non- critical projects unrelated to roads and bridges, including bike paths; a $6 million Delaware boardwalk; and a $120,000 “white-squirrel sanctuary” in Tennessee. Perhaps the least objectionable funding for a new project could be increased use of tolling. That is how we are paying for Louisville’s East End bridge, and awaiting demolition. But it would be safe to predict Guthrie’s Folly will be around a very long time yet come. (*Guthrie had an extraordinary resume, among other things, serving as a Congressman, US Senator and Secretary of the Treasury; founder of U of L Medical School, Male HS and Cave Hill Cemetery; and builder of the Portland Canal and the L&N RR.) and one would expect more to come, because at least everyone can see where their money is going. Tolls still raise the hackles of some communities, however - our neighbors in Northern Kentucky being among the most opposed. At their urging in 2016, Gov. Bevin signed a law that forecloses any chance of a Kentucky-Ohio bridge being tolled anytime soon. Leaders in Covington believe tolls work against the flow of commerce and travel to their part of Metro Cincinnati. They will, however, have to contend with longer traffic jams and snarls. This just goes to show there are no easy answers for this complicated question. continued from page 1 2