U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has announced the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will fund several vital western Kentucky infrastructure projects in its Fiscal Year 2020 Work Plan.
• $63 million to complete the Olmsted Locks and Dam.
• Over $61 million for Kentucky Lock.
• $4 million for the Paducah Floodwall.
Since its authorization in 1988, McConnell has helped secure approximately $3 billion to complete the construction of Olmsted. The completion of Olmsted, the largest project funded by the Inland Waterways Trust Fund, will benefit other priority projects under construction, such as Kentucky Lock.
"Billions of dollars of goods flow through Olmsted and the Kentucky Lock every year, supporting good jobs and helping build strong Kentucky communities along our inland waterways," McConnell said.
Matt Rickets is president and CEO of Crounse Corp. in Paducah.
"We are grateful for the leadership of Sen. Mitch McConnell for his efforts to help secure funding that will ensure America's key energy, agriculture, construction and other commodities continue to be transported in the most cost-effective, fuel efficient and environmentally friendly way on our nation's inland waterways," he said.
"This funding will help further the economic benefits these projects provide to western Kentucky, the region and the nation."
The Paducah floodwall runs through downtown and includes a system of pump stations across the community to protect and minimize the flood risk for 11,000 acres and more than 25,000 McConnell constituents in the area. In 2016, McConnell secured an increase in the project's authorization level to over $31 million within the 2016 Water Resources Development Act (WRDA).
McConnell visited Paducah in 2017 to announce USACE, then directed more than $19 million for critical repairs and upgrades to the flood protection system. In 2016, the senator worked to secure a $400,000 competitive grant from the Delta Regional Authority (DRA) to help rehabilitate a pump station for the Paducah floodwall.
According to Paducah Mayor Brandi Harless, "Protecting Paducah's more than $1 billion in assets from the flooding Ohio River is a critical effort for our city's prosperity. Often times these maintenance and upkeep needs are left undone.
"We are thankful for the continued support and partnership with our federal partners in addressing the needs of our floodwall system."