When Kentucky Senate President Robert Stivers dropped the $65 million in state funding for the Rupp Arena project from the budget a few weeks ago, the future of the project looked bleak. However, Governor Steve Beshear has repeatedly voiced his support for the project, and in a news conference today, announced a new plan that will increase state funding to $80 million, but not require an increase in Fayette County’s hotel and motel tax, a sticking point for Stivers and the Senate. Lexington city leaders now say they’ll use “value engineering” to decrease the total price of the project, whatever that means.
Governor Beshear also told reporters that he’d be meeting with Senator Stivers and other legislative leaders to discuss the new financing plan this afternoon, a HUGE meeting for the future of a renovated Rupp. Cross your fingers.