Representative Adam Bowling provides budget info to Chamber

Published 9:40 am Wednesday, May 15, 2024

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The Harlan County Chamber of Commerce welcomed Kentucky State Representative Adam Bowling during their regular May meeting. Bowling advised the members on state funding impacting the area.
“Thank you for having me,” Bowling said. “It’s an honor to be here.”
Bowling mentioned he represents approximately 75 percent of Harlan County.
“I was first elected in the fall of 2018,” Bowling said. “I’m currently serving my third term, so I just finished up my sixth legislative session in Frankfort.”
Bowling pointed out the last legislative session addressed the state’s budget, which is set every two years in Kentucky.
“We’re constitutionally required to come out with a two-year budget every other year, and this year was a budget session,” Bowling said.
Bowling advised the state has made investments in programs aimed at economic development in rural areas such as Harlan County.
“We did an additional $400 million into the road fund,” Bowling said. “Harlan County saw a very good amount of road fund dollars coming to it this time. That $400 million allows us to get to projects quicker and get the money out to communities quicker.”
Bowling also mentioned an economic development program geared toward rural Kentucky.
“That’s a bill I sponsored two years ago,” Bowling said. “What that program does…it has a factor for relative impact on a community. When you look at Fayette or Jefferson County, if they get a project that’s going to bring in 70 – 100 jobs, it’s good, but it’s not going to really move the needle in those counties. But in a county like Harlan County if you get 70 – 150 good paying jobs, that’s going to have a huge impact on our local economy.”
Bowling mentioned some funding is earmarked for broadband expansion.
“A lot of that is federal money,” Bowling said. “In the state of Kentucky, it all came to about $350 to $400 million into broadband expansion. The federal government has put an additional $1.1 billion into that program. We’re talking about a billion and a half dollars that will be going out in the state of Kentucky to expand broadband.”
According to Bowling, areas with no broadband connectivity will be impacted first with limited connectivity areas next in line. He also mentioned there is funding specific to Harlan County included in the budget.
“In Harlan County, within House Bill 1, we were able to make some one-time investments as well,” Bowling said. “We’re very proud of those. We put $71 million in the road fund…$26 million of that is going to finish U.S. 421 to the Virginia line. That will not only pay off for the safety of the citizens of Harlan County but will hopefully bring more traffic through and lead to better economic development in Harlan County.”
Bowling also mentioned $3.8 million has been allocated for the long-planned Harlan County Wellness and Recreation Center.
“That’s a great project,” Bowling said. “(Harlan County Judge-Executive) Dan Mosley and his team put it together. They’ve got local funding, they’ve got federal funding, they’ve got four or five different funding streams going into that. It’s really going to improve the quality of lives for people in Harlan County.”
Bowling added other funding includes $2.6 million to the city of Evarts to address water infrastructure issues, funding for a Highway 160 overlook project, and over $8 million for a new Kentucky State Police Post in Harlan County.
“Overall, we have a very strong budget across the state,” Bowling said. “We made some good one-time investments that will lead to an increase in economic activity in our state which will bring in more revenue.”

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