FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky's Transportation Cabinet has awarded more than $1 billion in construction project contracts since January 2020, Gov. Andy Beshear said.

He said Tuesday it's another sign the state's economy is rebounding from the COVID-19 pandemic.

At the same time, the Transportation Cabinet has allocated more than $125 million in discretionary, emergency aid and rural-secondary funding, Beshear said. That money will help build, repair and maintain streets, sidewalks and rural roads, he said.

“Even in the face of a pandemic, we simply could not allow a lapse in the construction, maintenance and continuous improvement of this critically vital system," the governor said. "Now our economy is bouncing back, and transportation is a big part of that.”

Last week, Kentucky officials announced a contract for construction of the last section of the Kentucky Highway 680 connector highway in eastern Kentucky. Officials estimate the new highway will cut driving time between Pikeville and Hazard by 45 minutes.