New Home Starts Highlight Road Funding Needs

During a Monday meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Licensing and Occupations, lawmakers heard from the Homebuilders Association of Kentucky.  CEO/Executive Vice President Anetha Sanford  updated the committee on residential homebuilding and its impact on the state’s economy. She testified that building 100 new homes generates $28.7 million in income as well as $3.6 million in local and state taxes and fees.

Even during the pandemic, Kentucky builders constructed 12,000 homes in 2020, which continued the rebound from pre-2008 recession totals. Before that recession, Kentucky builders constructed nearly 18,000 homes. Sanford said that while lumber prices have dramatically increased in recent months, new home starts continue to climb. Compared to last year, new home construction has increased 25% with 1,300 more homes built in the state.

While Representative Jerry Miller (R-Eastwood) applauded the association’s work, he took the moment to remind them and lawmakers that families need safe, reliable roads to get to and from these new homes.

“We’ve got to have roads; i.e., we’ve got to have road money,” said Miller. “We’ve got to figure out what are we going to do as a state in terms of generating the type of road fund dollars to meet that need.”

Last month, the Kentucky League of Cities Board of Directors voted to continue efforts to modernize the road funding formula. Cities maintain more than 10,000 miles of public roads – streets that are more expensive to build and preserve due to requirements such as curbs and gutters, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) mandates, and storm water drainage. Since 2009, Kentucky cities have spent 62% more on city streets, but state and federal funding declined more than 4%.