Millions Spent, No Progress Made On I-66 Project

SOMERSET, Ky. -- U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers has funneled nearly $90 million in federal funds toward a proposed interstate highway in Kentucky that likely will never cross the state, much less stretch beyond its borders, reports the Louisville Courier-Journal in its Sunday edition.

Despite the substantial expenditure of funds, not a single shovelful of dirt has been turned on Interstate 66, conceived nearly two decades ago as a coast-to-coast corridor that would run through Southern Kentucky. Since then, it has been abandoned by every other state as unnecessary or too expensive, reports the C-J.

"We try not to build roads that don't lead anywhere," said Brent Walker of the West Virginia Department of Transportation, which has never seriously pursued I-66.

Nevertheless, Kentucky continues to push forward, urged on by I-66 supporters, including local politicians and economic-development officials, and driven by Rogers' powerful influence as a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee, reports the newspaper.

That influence -- accumulated over the 27 years Rogers has represented Southern and Eastern Kentucky's 5th Congressional District -- combined with Congress' general reluctance to oppose a member's pet projects, helps explain I-66's staying power.

"Why is Kentucky the only state to find the road worthy of pursuit?" asked Dr. Hilary Lambert, a longtime I-66 opponent who has taught geography and environmental studies at several universities and who is a former associate director of the Kentucky Waterways Alliance.

"Because Hal loves it so much. He's a guy who brings roads to his district."

Many critics, including environmentalists, government-spending watchdogs and some affected landowners, say I-66 is a bad investment and a poor use of scarce transportation funds, reports the Courier-Journal.

Copyright: The Louisville Courier-Journal

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  • by Fred Location: Lexington on Dec 20, 2007 at 05:19 PM
    Johnny...that's silly...what do ya mean?
  • by Zeke Location: Olin on Dec 19, 2007 at 02:57 PM
    Just wondering,would taking a dead man`s name from a road be like taking nickels from a dead man`s eyes? If hal gets his hwy. 66 will he give Dan Boone back his road? Hal will be on one end of 66, who will be on the other,Mitch?
  • by Johnny on Dec 19, 2007 at 07:41 AM
    Fred, based on the majority of your aren't held accountable for much the way it is now.
  • by cutter Location: South of East KY on Dec 19, 2007 at 06:41 AM
    I'm sorry, my religion, my ethics, my sense of moral responsibility prevents me from commenting on this total waste of a politician...
  • by Steve Location: KY. on Dec 19, 2007 at 06:39 AM
    Check old Hal's bank account. You'll probably find a lot of it. The rest will be in his friends the road contractor's account.
  • by Papaw Location: South of 75, east of 64 on Dec 19, 2007 at 05:30 AM
    Fred and Steve obviously need to get outside of Hamburg and Nicholasville Rd before they go running off at the mouth! Get out on I75 South on a Friday afternoon in the spring or summer and try to go anywhere in the left lane. You can't because the Ohio and Michigan navies are on the move, and since they must only build the left lane of roads up North, you can't get anywhere fast. Somerset-Pulaski County airport has built a new terminal and is working on getting air carrier service into the area for the tourists that "might" flock to the area, the majority of which are NOT from the surrounding counties obviously. Also, as far as one-horse towns go, Burnside (for Steve and Fred's edification, that's also in Pulaski County) is in the top 10 places for second homes in the NATION! Lexington might be the center of Big Blue Nation, but it's hardly the end-all, be-all of the Commonwealth.
  • by Fred Location: Lexington on Dec 18, 2007 at 07:52 PM
    Johnny...nice that you back your man, but your post really made little sense. Perhaps he did a lot for Harlan (I'm sure that's nice), but losing 90 million with nothing to show for it isn't all that great in my book. I wish I could lose 90 million bucks and not be held accountable.
  • by I VOTE Location: Leslie Co on Dec 18, 2007 at 12:53 PM
    First of all, I-66 is not a bad investment. The only problem I see is that it was okay for the rest of the state to use Eastern Kentucky's coal severance monies for their nice highways, but when Congressman Rogers comes up with a plan to assist us (as he always has) you people forget who built your roads and continues to keep them up. So, thank our coal miners in Eastern Kentucky for your nice roads. Thank you Hal for always being there for us. You'll always be number one with me. Merry Christmas!
  • by johnny Location: east ky on Dec 18, 2007 at 03:47 AM
    i know some one will knot like what i am going to say.i am a democrat and proud to be one.but i allways vote for hal rogers he has allways done more for harlan county than any one ever i say i am a democrat but i vote for the man not the party.harlan county is a heavy democrat county but he allways wins here.but what you think of hal is your right.but it would be hard to beat him in an election.he is a well liked man. so go ahead and say what you want to about me i know some of you will.but i will respect what you have a merry christmas
  • by Location: London on Dec 17, 2007 at 08:07 PM
    Where is the money now? Has it been spent on something else? Is it still there? It should be. If not, it is tax payer's money gone to waste. Yes, other roads need repaired. Yes Southern Kentucky needs this I-66. No, Somerset is not a one-horse town. Yes Lake Cumberland is the areas biggest attraction that welcomes thousands and thousands each year. Some people just need to get out more often and actually talk to the people who actually vote them into office, especially if they think Somerset is a tiny speck on the map.
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