“I was first elected in 1995 where 62 cents of every dollar on the federal gasoline tax was returned to local projects. Now 96 cents on every dollar are returned to the area,” he told the Rotarians about funding for highway projects.
Whitfield said that he was “excited about” current plans to replace the bridges over Lake Barkley and Kentucky Lake for Highway 68/80. “I view these bridges as a safety hazard at this point. As they are a design/build project, the bridges will be completed a lot sooner than they would be otherwise.” He added that construction would begin in the summer of 2007.
Touting his record of economic development in Kentucky, Whitfield observed that in the past five years, the state has enjoyed a net gain of 11,000 new jobs. “It is interesting to note that of the new plants that have opened in the state, 15 are owned by foreign companies that could choose to invest anywhere in the world but chose to invest here. They come to Kentucky because the quality of life and workforce, and stress that worker training programs are as good as any other program in the country.”
Whitfield announced that he supported a bill that would create a pilot program to study the impact of higher lake levels into the month of September for two years. He said that he was encouraged by a two-week “window of opportunity” to pass the bill after the general election, but was not “overly optimistic” about the chances for success.
Local businessman and fishing guide Rick Chidester asked Whitfield about preliminary evidence that suggested higher lake levels could be detrimental to wildlife and proposed an alternative plan that would lower lake levels slowly or by only one foot. He noted that fishing had declined in his 15 years in the area.
Michael Pape, as Whitfield’s district manager said that several studies differed on the effect higher lake levels would have on wildlife.
for the rest of the story, read this week's Cadiz Record.