Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear signed a $4.5 billion road construction plan April 18, the Bowling Green Daily News reported, following a special legislative session to complete the state’s transportation budget bill, which the legislature failed to finish in its regular session.
Beshear, a Democrat, exercised his line-item veto power on a list of 10 projects planned for the district of Senate President David Williams, a Republican. Beshear beat Williams in a gubernatorial election last year, and the two have been trading insults over the transportation plan.
Beshear and Williams each blamed the other for the failure to pass the transportation budget during the regular session. The Republican Senate refused to vote on the transportation budget until after the governor signed the road construction plan, which he did not do before midnight April 12. The state constitution mandates that the legislative session last no more than 60 days, and April 12 was the 60th day. The House and Senate adjourned shortly before midnight.
The governor said he could not sign the road construction plan without reviewing the thousand projects contained in it and possibly exercising his option to veto line items.
“Our review of the Road Plan legislation over the last few days revealed that Sen. Williams took extraordinary steps to enrich his district at the expense of other priority projects in the state,” Beshear said in a statement
Beshear said he vetoed the projects, worth $49.7 million, because Williams had shifted them at the last minute from the list of projects waiting for funding to the list that would definitely be funded. Those projects were on the unfunded list in Beshear’s recommended Six-Year Road Plan, submitted in January.
"I think he's allowed his personal anger and vitriolic comments to go beyond the bounds of normal reason in this thing," Williams said of Beshear.
Now that the governor has signed the highway plan, the House has passed a transportation budget, and the Senate is expected to do the same quickly, so the $60,000-a-day special session can be wrapped up on Friday, April 20.