Louisville is estimated to receive more than $100 million for public transportation over the next five years from the newly passed Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
“This is different than the Rescue Plan, where we were having lots of workgroups and identifying projects that we want to work on,” Mayor Greg Fischer said at a press conference Friday. “This is gonna be much more prescriptive as it comes out of Washington, D.C.”
The money is planned for investments in public transportation including buses and bus facilities and improved mobility for seniors and those living with disabilities.
Statewide, Kentucky will receive an estimated $4.5 billion for funding improvements on highways, roads and bridges.
Some of that money also focuses on expanding internet access and addressing concerns about drinking water.
Louisville Metro government will need to work with legislators to access funds from that larger, statewide share of the money.
The city is eligible to apply for more money in the form of newly created grants.
Jen Covino, Louisville’s liaison to the White House and Congress, said that in order to compete for funds going out in the 2022 fiscal year, the city should propose projects that are already in planning.
“What I would encourage Metro government to do is prioritize your local shovel-ready infrastructure projects you already have in the pipeline,” Covino said.
Metro officials appear to already have some projects at this stage.
“I know we have been working on a lot of potential projects in the community for a long time,” said Democratic Council Member Bill Hollander, of District 9. “I think this is a good example that having shovel-ready projects is a good thing.”
Fischer had one community-building project in mind already.
“As many of y’all know, we have been working on Ninth Street for some time to transition it from a big, broad boulevard, that some see as a physical and psychological divide, into a bridge,” Fischer said.
The road is generally known as a line between west and east Louisville. Historically, the two areas have been heavily divided by race and class as well.
Fischer said that grant money, if received, could go towards funding improvements to safety and investments in stores and restaurants on Ninth Street.
Covino said that money from the bill should be distributed in February 2022.