Transportation ministers in Kentucky are unveiling a new plan for electrifying its rail system on Tuesday, with a $15 billion investment and a $2 billion endowment.
The plan is meant to speed up the development of the state’s rail network, which has suffered from an aging infrastructure.
“The investments we are announcing today will be part of our long-term plan to revitalize our rail system,” Gov.
Matt Bevin, a Republican, said in a statement.
“We need to invest in our future to ensure that Kentucky is an asset to the nation and the world.”
Kentucky’s rail infrastructure is aging and the state lacks the money to replace aging rails.
It has had a fleet of just 14,000 passenger trains a year, compared to the more than 200,000 trains that run on the country’s main rail lines.
The state also lacks the cash to modernize its aging and outdated commuter rail lines, which have struggled to meet ridership growth.
It needs to expand its network of bus rapid transit (BRT) and expand its rail network to make up for the shortfall, Bevin said.
The announcement comes a day after Bevin signed legislation that would expand the state Department of Transportation’s budget to $4 billion and invest in the development and operation of an electrified rail system.
The $15 million investment in electrifying the rail system would be split between a capital project to upgrade rail infrastructure and a new $2 million endowment fund for the rail infrastructure.
The $1 billion investment in expanding the state highway system will be split among a capital improvement and maintenance project, and a capital investment to expand and modernize rail systems, Bevins office said.
The state’s $1.1 billion bond issue, which the state issued in March, has been delayed because of the federal government shutdown.
Bevin, the state transportation secretary, said he hopes to secure the funding by June.
He said that the state would work with federal officials to get the funding.
Bevin is the latest governor to announce a major overhaul of Kentucky’s transportation infrastructure.
In 2015, he created the state of Kentucky Transportation Development Authority to improve the rail network.
The new agency will be charged with improving the rail systems of Kentucky counties.
Bevins plan to invest $500 million to upgrade and modernify rail lines and the rest of the transportation system.
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, which is comprised of transportation officials from the state, county and city governments, is set to meet in Lexington Tuesday morning to approve the new plan.
As part of the plan, the Cabinet is proposing that the transportation department would borrow $1 million per year from the bond issue of the new bond.
The money would be used to build or modernize existing rail lines in the state.