Chamber group presses Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao for support

WASHINGTON — In an effort to continue the good relationship the Paducah Area Chamber of Commerce has with the U.S. Department of Transportation, members met with Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao Thursday afternoon.

Members of the Paducah Area Chamber of Commerce D.C. Fly-in meet with Transportation Secretary Chao.

The meeting was part of the chamber’s annual D.C. Fly-in aimed at pushing and advocating for local projects at the federal level.

During Thursday’s meeting, conversations centered around Paducah’s B.U.I.L.D. grant requests that involve development or redevelopment of Paducah’s riverfront and riverport.

The Paducah riverfront project would create what’s being called the Paducah Commons, and the riverport project is geared toward building a container transfer yard on nine acres of riverport-owned brownfield property.

Chao greets members of the group upon arrival.

The hope is to encourage the DOT to eventually award the city the nearly $25 million combined to fund both projects.

“Well, we want to be transparent, and we also want to ensure that rural America is not overlooked,” Chao said.

Secretary Chao said face-to-face meetings like Thursday’s help leaders learn about possible funding options.

“I think it’s helpful for people to understand how the U.S. Department of Transportation works so they can access the resources available in this department,” Chao said.

Barkley Regional Airport Chairman Jay Page presents Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao with a Paducah quilt on behalf of the chamber.

She also encouraged lawmakers from both sides to work on bipartisan efforts.

“I think it’s best if both sides agree to work together on the infrastructure of America, so it is robust and will help the productivity and competitiveness of our country, and also increase the quality of life for our residents,” Chao added.

The winner of the grants will be awarded in December.