Note: This release was prepared by U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's office.
February 12, 2020
WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced today the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) will fund several vital Western Kentucky infrastructure projects in its Fiscal Year 2020 Work Plan. Senator McConnell delivered funding for the following projects in the plan:
• $63 million to complete the Olmsted Locks and Dam
• Over $61 million for Kentucky Lock
• $4 million for the Paducah Floodwall
OLMSTED LOCKS AND DAM and KENTUCKY LOCK
Senator McConnell has long championed the Olmsted Locks and Dam and the Kentucky Lock projects in Western Kentucky. As a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, he has secured funding for the projects and has worked to ensure they are at the center of the national discussion. Since its authorization in 1988, Senator 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. Likewise, Senator McConnell also has worked to secure hundreds of millions of dollars for the Kentucky Lock project, which will support the construction of a new lock chamber to handle the increased tonnage of today’s larger barge traffic.
“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. As Senate Majority Leader, I’m committed to directing federal investment into our Commonwealth and helping Kentucky to continue to punch above its weight in Washington,” said Senator McConnell. “I was proud to make Olmsted Locks and Dam a major priority every single step of the way, and I look forward to the completion of this massive project for our Commonwealth.”
“Kentucky Lock is another important project supporting Kentucky’s 20,000-plus maritime workers and the small businesses who depend on our rivers, and I will continue securing the necessary resources to complete it,” Senator McConnell added. “Because of our dedicated inland waterways professionals, Kentucky is rightly recognized as a vital commercial shipping highway, and our workers and communities can enjoy the benefits.”
“We are grateful for the leadership of Senator 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,” said Matt Ricketts, President & CEO, Crounse Corporation, Paducah, Kentucky. “This funding will help further the economic benefits these projects provide to Western Kentucky, the region and the nation.”
Senator McConnell has a long history of working to help the city of Paducah – the inland waterways capital of the World -- with the rehabilitation of its floodwall. The floodwall runs through downtown Paducah 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 of his constituents in the area. In 2016, Senator McConnell secured an increase in the project’s authorization level to over $31 million within the 2016 Water Resources Development Act (WRDA).
Senator 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, Senator McConnell also worked to secure a $400,000 competitive grant from the Delta Regional Authority (DRA) to help rehabilitate a pump station for the Paducah floodwall. The DRA grant was part of a much larger effort by Paducah officials who have worked for years with the USACE to update and repair the city’s aging floodwall infrastructure to better protect citizens and businesses.
“For Paducah, the river holds the key to a rich heritage and a bold future. With that great potential, however, the river also presents a particular challenge, and I’m proud to continue delivering federal resources to protect this special community with an updated floodwall,” said Senator McConnell. “The flood protection system safeguards over $1 billion of West Kentucky’s treasures, and I’m committed to ensuring this community has the necessary federal support to thrive. As Senate Majority Leader, it is my privilege to advance Kentucky’s priorities at every turn, and I directed these federal resources to help Paducah continue to thrive.
Over the years, Senator McConnell has worked closely with Paducah officials on many projects benefiting the community. Paducah Mayor Brandi Harless thanked Senator McConnell for his continued support for the city. “Protecting Paducah’s more than $1B 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,” said Mayor Harless. “We are thankful for the continued support and partnership with our federal partners in addressing the needs of our floodwall system.”
“Our ongoing partnership with Senator McConnell’s office and the USACE Louisville District has allowed for the successful execution of the Paducah Floodwall Reconstruction Project since 1998,” said Rick Murphy, Paducah City Engineer. “This announcement is wonderful news, and now our community can fully complete the project with full funding. Our Honorable Mayor, Board of Commissioners, and several of our community leaders would like to express their gratitude to Senator McConnell for all that he has accomplished on our behalf. As for me, I’m looking forward to shaking Senator McConnell’s hand very soon!”