Governor Andy Beshear talks infrastructure projects in Prestonsburg

Weekday broadcast of WYMT Mountain News at 6
Published: Sep. 19, 2022 at 4:23 PM EDT
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Weekday broadcast of WYMT Mountain News at 11

PRESTONSBURG, Ky. (WYMT) - Governor Andy Beshear discussed the heaviness of the June police shooting in Allen and the late July flooding as he opened remarks Monday at the Mountain Arts Center in Prestonsburg.

However, the Governor did say it was nice to be back at the MAC with better news to share.

The governor reiterated the commitment from the state to help all of Eastern Kentucky rebuild and recover from the flooding, sending a combined $3.2 million to families in need for anyone who qualified for FEMA assistance.

The governor then announced more than $4.1 million in funding for the Dawkins Line Rail Trail that runs through Johnson and Magoffin Counties.

The first phase of the improvement project will see the first two miles of the trail paved, that is expected to be done by next year. The next funding announcement will take place next year.

Local leaders praised the funding move.

“I think these type of projects will help bring more people to our region, bring tourism to our region, but it will also help with economic growth,” said Magoffin County Judge-Executive Matt Wireman.

Johnson County Judge-Executive Mark McKenzie said the trail improvement is good for the present and the future.

“It also is a recruitment for folks to come here and see what we already know,” McKenzie said.

The governor also announced the location for the next phase of the Mountain Parkway expansion project.

“An end is in sight to move this project to completion,” Gov. Beshear said.

Planning has begun for the final 13 miles of the project that would make the parkway four lanes from Campton to Prestonsburg.

“We will deliver on that 60-year-old promise,” Gov. Beshear added. “This has been something that the region has deserved, if for not that long than longer.”

The governor also added that a community information meeting will be planned for early next year with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.

“We’re going to move them forward. In fact, we’re going to drive them forward,” said Gov. Beshear.

Officials say moving forward in the expansion means powerful growth for the pathway from Pikeville to Paducah.

“This is not only a road. This is a lifeline. A lifeline to our future,” said Floyd County Judge-Executive Robbie Willliams. “This is going to transform Eastern Kentucky.”

Construction began on the latest section of the Mountain Parkway earlier this year in Wolfe County.