MADISONVILLE, Ky. (10/16/13) – Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear said he is certain the development of Interstate 69 through western Kentucky will move forward by the time he gets out of office in 2015.
“We're going to have I69 so far down the road by the time I leave office, that nobody's going to have any other choice except to get on with it,” said Beshear, “and, to make sure we have an interstate running through this part of Kentucky that will open this whole region up to some great economic development moves in the future.”
Beshear was keynote speaker during an I69 Development Conference Tuesday, Oct. 15 at the Ballard Convention Center in Madisonville. He was joined by speakers from the Kentucky Transportation and Economic Development cabinets, contractors and state and federal officials.
Speakers, who represent the I69 project also told the crowd of hundreds about the economic impact of a corridor running from Canada to Mexico through western Kentucky, Indiana, Tennessee and Texas.. The luncheon was sponsored by Road Builders. Murray State University, Baptist Health Madisonville and the Rogers Group also sponsored portions of the conference.
Beshear acknowledged the importance of transportation in the future of western Kentucky.
“When I ran for office in 2007, I promised you that I would remember west Kentucky,” he said. “In the past, west Kentucky was left out of the equation in Frankfort. I promised you that west Kentucky would have a seat at the table again. If west Kentucky does well, this entire state does well.”
The governor gleaned over the numbers of Kentuckians that have signed up for health insurance through KYnect as a part of the Affordable Care Act. However, he quickly reverted to the subject of the conference — roads.
“Today, we're here to talk specifically about roads,” he said. “Roads aren't just concrete and blacktop; they're connections; connections that get employees to their jobs, our seniors to the doctors' offices, our farmers to the market and the rest of us, where we need to go. Good roads attract new business.”
Beshear said manufacturers that ship goods and/or require large quantities of raw material need quick and direct access to other states.
“In fact, for some businesses, access to an interstate is a make or break proposition,” he said. “Officials in our cabinets for economic development tell us that Kentucky sometimes misses out on opportunities, when potential companies request information (about) how close a community is to an interstate highway.”
Rita Dukes Smith
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