Op-Ed: Infrastructure is key to Kentucky’s growth

The following comment was written by Ashli ​​Watts, President and CEO of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce.

The saying is true – if you build it they will come. Just look at the most recent census data, which shows the areas of Kentucky that have grown the most over the past 10 years. These areas can recognize solid infrastructure as key to attracting businesses and jobs that lead to population growth.

Scott County tops the list in Kentucky, growing 20% ​​over the past 10 years. When asked what factors led to this tremendous growth, Scott County’s Judge Executive Joe Covington said, “Location, location, location, jobs, jobs, jobs. We are blessed and challenged to have Interstate 75 and then 64, both of which run through Scott County. “

Investing in our infrastructure is key to attracting and retaining businesses, creating jobs and growing our population in our Commonwealth. And the good news is that there is a way to do all of this and position the Commonwealth for unprecedented growth.

With the recent passage of the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Employment Bill by the U.S. Senate, Kentucky is poised for further growth, but it is up to our leaders in the House of Representatives to put politics aside, focus on politics, and pass this bill get over the finish line.

You just have to turn on the news to see how divisive politics can be. But the recent bipartisan vote in the Senate and the widespread support for this bill from various groups, including both business and workers, shows that we can all agree on adequate investments in our country’s infrastructure.

The key to achieving this historic agreement was our senior Senator Mitch McConnell, who with his leadership and voice showed the Kentuckers that he knows this issue does not fall one side of the aisle or the other. Regardless of who’s in control in DC, we must do the right thing for Kentucky.

With this law passed, every Kentucky county will benefit from increased funding for our highways, bridges, airports, water systems, and broadband expansion. If this move were approved by the House of Representatives, Kentucky would receive $ 4.6 billion over the next five years to meet our infrastructure needs. We would also receive an estimated $ 438 million in direct bridge funding to tackle large bridge and road projects such as the I-69 and Brent-Spence bridges.

The funding would help complete the corridors of our Appalachian Development Highway System (ADHD), strengthen our public transport priorities, allocate US $ 25 billion to improve airport infrastructure, allocate funds to the Abandoned Mine Land Reclamation Fund, to invest in broadband expansion and much more.

The past year and a half have been a tough time for our state and our nation. We have to get people back to work. We need Kentucky to re-establish itself as the leader in the best places to live, work, and raise a family in this ever-changing economy. This bipartisan infrastructure package will enable us to do all of this and more. We urge our Congress delegation to join Leader McConnell in supporting this sensible legislation and investing in the future of Kentucky.

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