MADISONVILLE, Ky. (8/15/13) – Community leaders from around western Kentucky are invited to a day-long conference devoted to Interstate 69, scheduled for Oct. 15 at the Ballard Convention Center in Madisonville.
“I-69: Our Road to the Future” will begin at 8:30 a.m. with registration, end at 4 p.m. and include a variety of local, state and regional infrastructure and economic development experts who will address the expectations, opportunities and concerns that surround the arrival of a new interstate highway. Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear, U.S. senators Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul and U.S. Rep. Ed Whitfield are among the invited speakers. Representatives of the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and the departments of transportation in Tennessee and Indiana will give updates on the road's construction in all three states.
The conference is being organized by Chamber Leadership Initiatives for Northwestern Kentucky (C-LINK), an alliance of 12 chambers of commerce in 10 counties who've made the completion of I-69 a top priority.
"I-69 is coming to Kentucky, and in some cases it's already here, so cities and counties all along its path need to be thinking right now about how it will impact them," said Lee Lingo, president of the Madisonville-Hopkins County Chamber of Commerce and a staff member of C-LINK. "This conference is designed to give local elected officials, economic developers, chamber members, business leaders and transportation advocates information and perspective on how I-69 could benefit their communities and what issues they should be considering. I-69 is going to be a reality in our state, so as a region we need to start thinking about how we can best leverage this new connection Kentucky will have to the rest of the country."
Interstate 69 is a 2,680-mile project that stretches from its northern terminus in Port Huron, Mich., to its southern end at the Mexican border at Brownsville, Texas. In between, the corridor passes through seven states, including Kentucky. The states along the route are responsible for building I-69, and Kentucky is among the most active. More than $130 million is in Kentucky's current six-year road plan to upgrade parts of the Pennyrile, Western Kentucky and Purchase parkways to interstate standards and rename them as I-69. More than 55 miles of the Western Kentucky Parkway and Interstate 24 in Hopkins, Caldwell and Lyon counties are now designated as I-69.
Also invited to speak at the conference are representatives of Kentucky Economic Development Cabinet, the Federal Highway Administration, Murray State University, the University of Southern Indiana, Hoosier Voices for I-69, the West Kentucky Regional Chamber Alliance, the Alliance for I-69 Texas, Kentuckians for Better Transportation and the Delta Regional Authority.
The cost to attend the conference is $20 per person and includes a light breakfast, lunch and a social hour from 4 to 5 p.m. at the convention center. Those interested in attending are urged to RSVP at (270) 821-3435 or
. Seating is limited to the first 300 patrons who make reservations. The Ballard Convention Center is located at 605 E. Arch Street in Madisonville. For updates on the event, visit the I69 Kentucky Development Conference page on Facebook or the web site http://www.buildi69-ky.com.
Information provided by Brad Schneider (Henderson Chamber of Commerce)
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