Gov. Andy Beshear on Tuesday announced a grant for the Owensboro Riverport Authority to go toward the purchase of a new front-end loader. It was one of five grants totaling roughly $450,000 from the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet awarded for crucial repairs and equipment needs at five Kentucky riverports.
ORA is receiving $120,082 to go toward purchase of a front-end loader for daily handling of bulk products, including corrosives such as fertilizer and ammonium nitrate. The new loader will replace an unreliable 11-year-old machine.
“One of Kentucky’s greatest natural assets is our abundance of waterways,” Beshear said. “Our Kentucky riverports help move the nation’s cargo and create high-wage jobs. It’s essential to keep them modernized and well-maintained so we can continue to build that better Kentucky.”
He noted that the riverports applied for the grants and must match the state’s grant funding with their own.
The awards were recommended by the Kentucky Water Transportation Advisory Board and administered by KTC.
Kentucky Transportation Secretary Jim Gray noted that the Commonwealth has a comprehensive transportation system comprising multiple modes.
“Riverports are as indispensable as air, rail and highway for the movement of cargo and bulk commodities,” Gray said. “They create high-wage jobs, support our economy and help keep Kentucky competitive.”
ORA President/CEO Brian Wright was unable to be reached for comment Tuesday afternoon.
The remaining grants were awarded to:
- Eddyville Riverport and Industrial Development Authority – $109,890 toward repair of erosion of embankment that supports a boat lift near a boat repair bay
- Henderson County Riverport Authority – $108,000 toward removal and replacement of two 40-year-old, damaged mooring structures called “dolphins” that are essential to operation of the loading docks
- Louisville-Jefferson County Riverport Authority – $95,792 toward repair of rail line by replacing 1,000 wooden crossties and 49 switch ties
- Paducah-McCracken County Riverport Authority – $16,236 toward repair of a loading chute on the conveyor system that moves commodities from the river to the riverport’s sand and gravel yard.