Kentucky’s Road Fund Subject of New Data Bulletin

Published 11:50 am Thursday, September 16, 2021

FRANKFORT – Today, Kentucky Auditor Mike Harmon’s office released a data bulletin focused on the Commonwealth’s Road Fund, in particular the sources of revenue and expenditures for the fund in Fiscal Years 2018, 2019 and 2020.

“All Kentuckians, from the very young to very old, depend on our highway system to get us to school, work and the places we need in order to live fruitful lives,” said Auditor Harmon.  “I believe it is important for all of us to understand how the money that maintains and builds our highway system is generated, and how it is spent.  That is why my office decided to compile data on Kentucky’s Road Fund in a way that is more easily understood.”

Like previous data bulletins, Auditor Harmon reminds Kentuckians that this report is not an audit of the road fund, but simply data that is accessible to the public and lawmakers. As part of the Annual Comprehensive Financial Report audit for the Commonwealth, Auditor Harmon’s office annually audits the Road Fund, which consist primarily of Kentucky Transportation Cabinet activity.

“As a former state legislator, I would have found this data interesting and important in setting policy and making appropriations related to the Road Fund. I believe this type of information can be very helpful to current members of the General Assembly as they prepare for the next regular session in 2022,” added Auditor Harmon.

In the three fiscal years the data bulletin covers on Kentucky’s Road Fund, auditors noted that half of all revenue generated in that time span came via the Commonwealth’s fuel taxes.  That is illustrated in the chart below:

Combination of Receipts in Total by Category for Fiscal Years 2018, 2019 and 2020

Source: Commonwealth Accounting System eMARS

“When you combine the $2.27 billion generated by our fuel taxes with the $1.76 billion that comes from vehicle usage and other taxes, they account for nearly 90 percent of the total receipts for Kentucky’s road fund during those three fiscal years, at $4.57 billion,” said Auditor Harmon.

Although the vast majority of dollars in the Road Fund are spent by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, the data bulletin also provides information as to other state agencies that receive Road Fund dollars. They include the Kentucky State Police, Department of Revenue, and the Office of Homeland Security.

As for how that revenue was spent, auditors noted that 34 percent of it went towards construction and maintenance, and 26 percent went to state personnel costs which includes salary and pensions for KYTC, Kentucky State Police and other state agencies.  A breakdown of expenditures by category is provided in the below chart found in the data bulletin:

Combination of Expenditures by Category for Fiscal Years 2018, 2019 and 2020

Source: Commonwealth Accounting System eMARS

“Kentucky has the eighth-largest highway system in our nation, which is comprised of more than 27,500 miles of roadway. Our Commonwealth also has over 14,000 bridges, which ranks us seventh in the country for the number of state-maintained bridges,” Auditor Harmon said. “It is imperative that taxpayers and policymakers are well informed about the funds designated to build and maintain such a large system.  This is the type of transparency and accountability my office strives for.”

The data bulletin report, “An Examination of Kentucky’s Road Fund and Expenditures,” can be reviewed on the auditor’s website.