U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. was in Corbin Tuesday morning to officially announce the $15.05 million BUILD (Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development) Grant to fund the upgrades to the portion of U.S. 25W off of Exit 25.
“This is a big day,” said McConnell, who was joined by Fifth District Congressman Hal Rogers, R-Ky., Kentucky State Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, whose district includes Whitley County, and Corbin Mayor Suzie Razmus.
“It was a privilege to work with Mayor Suzie Razmus and other local officials to secure the highly-competitive BUILD grant. By upgrading road conditions along U.S. 25W, we can help protect families and workers, ease traffic, and improve access to the nearby hospital,” McConnell said.
Under the project, the portion of U.S. 25W between the Corbin bypass and Fifth Street will be widened to four lanes, see the installation of turning lanes, medians and other safety improvements, and the construction of access roads in the area near the entrance to The Arena.
When the project was first proposed in 2011, officials with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet explained that the goal was to eliminate a number of the 88 traffic access points.
Razmus said the effort began through the efforts of a number local individuals to write and submit the grant.
In addition, she credited Sen. Stivers, who had the project placed back in the state’s six-year road plan.
“It had gone in and out of the road plan for many, many years,” Razmus said.
“If you had not put it back in, we would not be here.”
Razmus said the application likely would have never seen the light of day at the U.S. Department of Transportation, without the assistance of McConnell.
“Leader Mitch McConnell took this project up. He advocated for this project. He brought this home to our region,” Razmus said. “I can’t thank him enough!”
Razmus said this project will have a huge impact on the business and industry, and tourism in the area as it will permit the area off of Exit 25 to handle the increasing traffic flow.
“We can reach our full potential because of Leader McConnell,” Razmus said.
Rogers said the project is a great example because it began at the local and state level.
“We appreciate the fact that this community pulls together,” Rogers said adding that local officials developed a plan for the project and then worked that plan.
“You pulled yourselves together and then went after myself and Leader McConnell to put in the finishing touches,” Rogers said.
“This is something the community earned,” he added.
McConnell said in the last four years Kentucky has received the most amount of funding through the BUILD Grant Program of any state, including New York and California.
He noted that he is the only member of the Congressional leadership not from one of those two states.
“My job is to try to look out for middle America and not allow the coastal elites to dominate everything,” McConnell said.