Action on infrastructure is essential to Louisville’s economic growth
For most of us, infrastructure is a constant. You assume that you will have access to safe and reliable roads and bridges to take you to work or on vacation. You assume that the water will come out of the faucet when you turn the handle, and you will connect to Wi-Fi as soon as you turn on the computer. And while you may notice occasional potholes on the commute to work or backups on the bridge due to repairs, you never stop to think about daily wear and tear and lifespan. of such a critical part of our daily life and our economy?
For too long, the maintenance and improvement of infrastructure in our region has been neglected. We’ve all experienced the minor inconveniences of repaving roads or internet blackouts, but continuing to kick-start major improvements to our infrastructure could have catastrophic impacts on our community and our economy.
Our region is a natural hub for logistics and manufacturing. Our central location puts businesses within a two-day drive of the entire continental United States. We host UPS Worldport, which provides local businesses with access to efficient shipping around the world. We are the focal point for some of the nation’s largest highways and provide access to a major tributary of the Mississippi River. Not to mention the railways that connect us to cities across the country. These are major selling points for companies considering moving their operations to Louisville, but the infrastructure to connect those assets and provide reliable access is what can really set us apart as a region.
More businesses coming to Louisville means more investment in our community, more jobs, more amenities and more opportunities. As e-commerce continues to thrive and more businesses seek a location that will give them a competitive edge in logistics, we have real potential to build a reputation as the epicenter of the supply chain. . However, an aging infrastructure that receives minimal maintenance and proactive care is a major deterrent for companies that prioritize efficiency and reliability. To realize the potential of our economy, it is essential to invest immediately in the infrastructure of our region.
The infrastructure package now awaiting action from the US House of Representatives will provide much of this vital funding and tackle many of these long overdue projects. While it is too early to know exactly how these funds will be distributed across the Commonwealth and here in Greater Louisville, as the economic engine of the state Louisville would expect significant investment.
The package passed by the Senate would provide about $ 4.6 billion for federal highway aid programs and $ 438 million for bridge replacement and repair in Kentucky. The state would also receive $ 391 million to improve public transportation options and $ 204 million for infrastructure development at our airports. Not to mention investments in other infrastructure such as cybersecurity protections, weather protection, broadband expansion and electric vehicle charging stations.
It’s not just about getting things done smoothly, it’s about driving, flying and taking our economy and our region to the next level. We’ve already heard of Amtrak’s plan to add passenger rail services to Louisville with funding from this package, and there are many other innovative opportunities that could result from the biggest long-term investment in infrastructure in a year. century.
We were pleased with the Senate’s move to move the package forward and applaud Republican U.S. Senate Leader Mitch McConnell for his bipartisan collaboration and leadership. Now we call on Congressman John Yarmuth and the United States House of Representatives to quickly pass this bill so that we can continue to prepare for our future as a hub for connectivity and mobility.
Shelby Williams Somervell is Vice President of Government Affairs and Communications for Greater Louisville Inc.