Infrastructure, local airport funding keys to success

WASHINGTON, D.C. – You want the highways you travel on, the trains your ride, and the planes you fly to be safe. That’s one of the issues your local leaders and business owners are talking with folks at the federal level about in Washington, D.C., this week.

The Paducah Area Chamber of Commerce’s annual trip to D.C. is vital to improving the place we call home.

Inside the Department of Transportation on Thursday, Secretary Elaine Chao said she aimed to listen the chamber delegation and talk to them about infrastructure.

“The president is very much focused on making sure that America’s infrastructure is vibrant and competitive, and it really adds to the quality of our life,” Chao said.

The proposed budget to pay for improvements includes money for more than heavily traveled interstates.

“So, our commonwealth, the infrastructure proposal will include about one quarter that’s specifically targeted at rural America. So, commonwealth states like ourselves, Kentucky, will benefit from that,” Chao said.

Chao also made a surprise announcement that Barkley Regional Airport would in fact receive federal funding in the form of a subsidy to keep flights operating.

“So, that’s really good news and she wanted to share that with Paducah because she knew how important it was to us, that we were up here requesting that back in the budget, so really very good news for Paducah,” Paducah Chamber President Sandra Wilson said.

Barkley Regional Airport Board Chair Jay Page says the announcement ensures the airport’s positive impact.

“It’s the number one priority for the economic development in Paducah. We have an economic development impact of over $48 million in the area for the service and out of Barkley,” Page said.