By: Jeremy D. Wells
Carter County Times
Kentucky governor Andy Beshear was in Grayson on Friday to present the Carter County Fiscal Court with a series of checks for road and bridge replacement projects. Coming in at just under $700,000, those funds help cover the county’s matching share necessary for FEMA reimbursement on the projects, so they help cover a lot more than just $700,000 worth of repairs.
Beshear, who told the crowd in Veteran’s Park he was there to make sure eastern Kentucky got its share of the state’s infrastructure funding, presented the fiscal court with money from the state’s flood control program and Kentucky Transportation Cabinet discretionary funds.
“Over the last two years, eastern Kentucky has been devastated by historic flooding,” Beshear observed. “We had to issue major disaster declarations, multiple times, and far too many people lost far too much.”
“But as we move forward we know that we can prevent, or at least be better prepared, for these events,” he continued. “So, today, we bring dollars from the flood control program.”
That program, he explained, provides the match needed for local governments to qualify for FEMA funding.
“So, here in Carter County today we’re going to award you nearly $700,000 – $698,438 to be precise,” Beshear said. “The first is more than $512,000 for projects including construction costs for road, bridge, and drainage repairs from damage caused by the storms from February to March of 2021. The second award is more than $185,000 to help replace six low water crossings to bridge structures which were damaged in that same storm event. As a result of the damage these six areas have been deemed impassable, and a safety hazard. And I know a threat to your families.”
“You know, we’re pretty good at logistics here in Kentucky,” he continued. “We can move cargo from anyplace to anyplace. But the most precious cargo we have are our families and our kids we put in those cars. So I know that these projects today are going to help so many families be safer and to ultimately fix these safety hazards.”
Beshear presented a third check, for $190,429 to resurface a mile and a half of Tygart Creek Road.
The big award, though, was for the Rattlesnake Ridge Water District project. The state awarded the water district $1,000,000 in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds for the infrastructure upgrade – which will include new automatic read meters and a leak detection system as well as replacement of old pipes. They also said they were pursuing an additional half million dollars through the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) on behalf of the water district. Governor Beshear told the representatives of the water district he was so confident the ARC would grant the additional funds, he wanted to present them with a second check for $500,000, resulting in a total of $1.5 million for the infrastructure upgrades.
“Drinking water is a basic human right,” Beshear said, to a round of cheers and applause from the audience. “Every single family deserves it, and we’re going to make sure every single Kentucky family has it.”
Beshear also discussed a recent investment by Ford in a battery facility for electric vehicles in Glendale and how that kind of investment could lead to jobs across the state, including eastern Kentucky.
He said his adminstration would pitch locations like EastPark for companies looking to support the growing electrical vehicle industry.
“We have an opportunity with Ford, but also so many other battery producers to build a new economy,” Beshear told the Carter County Times. “Similar to what we saw in and around Georgetown when Toyota located there. It means there is going to be opportunity everywhere. Firestone in Whitley County just added 250 new jobs in the electrical vehicle market. So when we talk about the suppliers that are going to be coming in, whether they’re from Korea – which SK Innovation is – or elsewhere, we want to make sure that they locate, and that we can pitch them, sites all around Kentucky. So, why not here? Why not now? Let’s make sure that eastern Kentucky, and this area, is in the running to see some of those jobs.”
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