$500,000 in grants to boost river port equipment replacement and other critical repairs is in the works to help the state of Kentucky’s freight movement, announced Governor Andy Beshear this month.
These grants will be allocated to give particular river port operators–those in Louisville, Owensboro, Hickman, Paducah, and Eddyville–funds that will be matched by port authorities and will aid in funding bulk material-processing equipment.
“Kentucky’s river ports play a vital role in the flow of freight across our waterways,” said Jim Gray, Transportation Cabinet Secretary. “These funds will go a long way to upgrade daily operations and spur economic opportunities.”
The Louisville-Jefferson County Riverport Authority was granted the largest award of $178,803 to help in a rail line construction project that will reach a length of 1,775 feet and bypass the highly-congested outer rail loop in the area. This new rail line will hopefully boost rail traffic movement, efficiency, and safety.
The Hickman-Fulton County Riverport Authority will receive $136,265 to replace a bulk material-loading, 40-year-old front-end loader with a new model accessible between barges and trucks. The Eddyville Riverport and Industrial Development Authority has also been granted around $126,500 for main loading dock reparations in order to help prevent corrosion-related issues pertaining to the dock’s steel components; efforts will include adding new concrete fenders, installing new steel plates, replacing currently-eroded dock tieback rods, and grouting any empty spaces in the dock itself.
$34,807 will be allocated to the Owensboro Riverport Authority to buy a new bulk product-handling compact track loader, and $23,625 will be granted to the Paducah-McCracken County Riverport Authority to buy a bulk product-transferring clamshell bucket to replace its currently aging equipment.
“From roads to river ports, quality transportation systems are vital to support a thriving economy,” said Beshear. “This investment in our river ports will improve operations to move cargo more efficiently and safely.”
The Kentucky Water Transportation Advisory Board recommended these particular awards, and the board not only assesses requests for river port grants themselves, but also suggests future economic growth-enhancing steps to boost the state’s waterways and river ports in general.
Also announcing financial assistant grants is the state of Wisconsin, which recently expressed its intent to distribute $160.2 million throughout the state for transportation projects.
This is the third quarterly transportation fund allocation offered to local government agencies this year; Wisconsin sites and towns have been receiving quarterly payments every three months throughout 2021.
“Support for local governments’ transportation projects keeps goods and services moving throughout Wisconsin,” said Craig Thompson, Secretary-Designee for the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. “We are committed to investing wisely and working cooperatively to build good transportation solutions that support safety, economic development, and our quality of life.”
The General Transportation Aids program is an effort to offer state aid in response to county and municipal road construction, traffic operation, and maintenance costs. Typically, this funding comes from state vehicle registration fees and fuel taxes.
$156.9 million of these funds were granted to local government groups as General Transportation Aids, $3 million was granted to 116 eligible cities through Connecting Highway Aids, and $255,975 was granted for Expressway Policing Aids in Milwaukee County.
Now, the Connecting Highway Aids program helps with maintenance costs regarding segment-connecting roads throughout Wisconsin’s highway system. Specifically, the program is able to offer funds to local governments for municipal street-routed traffic costs. These “connecting highways” are explained by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation as consisting of the local roads and streets routing state highway traffic through state towns and cities.
This boost in assistance funding comes as part of $465 million in new transportation project funding allocated through the 2019-2020 Wisconsin state budget. This budget, in addition to the General Transportation Aids Assistance’s 10% increase, included $320 million in State Highway Rehabilitation program funding as well as an additional one-time grant of $90 million for the state’s Local Roads Improvement Program.