Mike Hancock, P.E., a native of Caldwell County, spent his career with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, rising through the ranks from University of Kentucky civil engineering scholarship student and summer worker to Secretary of the Transportation Cabinet.
In between, he was a planning engineer, Assistant State Highway Engineer for Program Management, Deputy State Highway Engineer for Planning, State Highway Engineer, Chief of Staff to the Secretary, and Acting Secretary. Governor Steve Beshear appointed him Secretary in July 2010.
Having been responsible for preparation of the Kentucky Highway Plan for many years, Secretary Hancock worked closely with local, state, and national leaders in the areas of project needs prioritization and transportation program funding issues.
Along the way, he emerged as a national leader and leading voice on transportation policy: President and Vice-President of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO); President of the Southeastern Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (SASHTO); AASHTO Board of Directors; Chairman of the AASHTO Standing Committee on Planning; and member of the Executive Committee of the Transportation Research Board.
Secretary Hancock’s tenure in leadership of the Transportation Cabinet was marked by the successful launching or completion of some of the largest infrastructure projects in the agency’s history. Chief among them was the $2.3 billion Louisville- Southern Indiana Ohio River Bridges Project, which transformed cross-river mobility and the Interstate 65 corridor in the greater Louisville area.
Secretary Hancock’s role and influence in the bridges project went far beyond the Transportation Cabinet’s customary procurement and oversight of the project. In addition to providing essential leadership in the complex interfaces among the Transportation Cabinet, the Indiana Department of Transportation, the Federal Highway Administration, the bi-state authority charged with developing the project’s financial plan, and many other agencies, he presided over lengthy, intricate negotiations with the State of Indiana on a bi-state development agreement and business rules for the tolling of the project.
Also, as chairman of the Kentucky Public Transportation Infrastructure Authority –- the entity created by the Kentucky Legislature for the specific purpose of funding transportation mega projects –- he was a key player in the project’s innovative financing, which included securing a $452.2 million, low-interest loan under the federal program known as TIFIA (Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act) to go along with a package of toll revenue bonds and bond anticipation notes.
Other notable accomplishments stemming from Secretary Hancock’s leadership of the Transportation Cabinet included construction of new bridges on Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley, completion of the border-to-border widening of I-65, construction of the I-69 corridor, and commencement of the expansion and extension of the Mountain Parkway.