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State sees infrastructure boost in new ‘Better Kentucky Plan’

Daviess Co. is getting $3.7 million
Updated: Jun. 2, 2021 at 5:52 PM CDT
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KENTUCKY (WFIE) - Counties across Kentucky are getting an infrastructure boost as part of a new Better Kentucky Plan.

$250 million will be split between counties, including over 3.7 million in Daviess County and north of 1.6 million in Henderson and Hopkins counties.

The money will be used to create 14,500 jobs and help build better schools, expand internet and deliver clean drinking water and quality sewer systems.

“Quality drinking water and well-maintained sewer systems are fundamental to keep Kentuckians safe and to build a better Kentucky,” said Gov. Beshear. “This funding boost will make a real difference in cities and counties across Kentucky while also creating more than 3,800 direct and indirect jobs. Today’s announcement is another win for Team Kentucky, and we are well on our way to leading in the post-COVID economy.”

$150 million of the funds are being used based on a county’s population, with 50 more available for utility grants and another 50 for a project grant.

The American Society of Civil Engineers projects that Kentucky faces nearly $14.5 billion in water and wastewater infrastructure needs over the next 20 years.

In Daviess County, officials say they are going to use this money to focus on projects that enhance economic development and have a social impact.

“The fact that we’ve got this money gives us the opportunity to help do these projects that will have a huge impact on the citizens of the county,” David Smith. “The pandemic brought up some issues where our economy could be better. That’s why some of the money our state did was for broadband cause we all know that internet access was something important. If you’re going to be doing broadband, you have to be dealing with the other infrastructures of water and wastewater.”

Officials say they are focusing on new projects that are not already funded. They’re looking at putting money towards expanding Kentucky 54 outside the bypass project. Officials say the state will pay to move the current utilities outside into the right of way when they expand the road.

However, the water district has to come up with the money to upsize the size of the pipe.

“Well, it makes great sense if we can upgrade a pipe from a 12-inch water main to a 16-inch water main for $300,000. That is a great use for the money because you really expand the future growth of that area,” explained Smith.

On top of that, they’re thinking of putting the money towards solving people’s water conservation issues. The county says people have been told on numerous occasions to “conserve water during certain times of the day.”

“About a dozen years ago, there was a drought in the county, and one of the big limiting factors was the ability to pump water into the water tanks in order to keep the water flowing. And so we know there’s some projects out there to increase the size of the pumps,” Smith added.

By doing so, the water tanks would fill up faster.

We’re told there will be a meeting sometime this week to discuss which projects make the most sense to spend the money on.

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