A persistent challenge to federal, state, and local government agencies is identifying economically viable methods to finance new infrastructure projects while maintaining the operation and functionality of existing roads, highways, and bridges. With shrinking transportation budgets, it is imperative for these agencies to stretch their dollars and maximize returns on investment. KTC’s Policy, Finance, and Economics research group has worked with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) and with federal agencies such as the Federal Highway Administration and the United States Department of Transportation to understand the economic implications of policy proposals and emerging technologies, conduct financial data analysis, and examine legislative initiatives. 

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Featured Project: Bridge Project Prioritization

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) has previously used sufficiency ratings to prioritize bridge projects. These ratings weighted three factors – structural evaluation, design obsolescence, and asset importance – to determine eligibility for federal funding. However, this approach omitted factors which can justifiably be used to prioritize projects. Additionally, there was no way to combine risk and condition factors in prioritization, which inhibited KYTC’s ability to rank the relative importance of its assets to the overall network. Currently, input from district personnel informs bridge project prioritization; however, KYTC wants to integrate a Bridge Importance Index into the process, an approach several other states have adopted. Researchers in this group are collaborating with the Bridge Preservation and Special Projects and Initiatives groups to develop an index that synthesizes data on bridge condition and other factors. This work will help KYTC make project prioritization decisions and allow such information to be incorporated into risk-based asset management. Click here to read the final report.

Research in Progress

Completed Projects

Policy, Finance & Economics Faculty & Staff

Bryan Gibson

Associate Director



Gayle Marks

Research Associate



Bethany Paris

Research Associate


Candice Wallace

Senior Research Scientist