February 12, 2020 3:07pm
GLI testifies in support of workforce development and public transportation
GLI made the case for supporting public transportation and workforce development in greater Louisville this afternoon at a legislative committee hearing in Frankfort. Before a House Budget Review Subcommittee in Frankfort, GLI’s Vice President of Government Affairs, Iris Wilbur Glick, urged legislators to use Kentucky’s portion of the Volkswagen Settlement to fund public transportation and electric vehicle infrastructure and to support greater Louisville’s mass transit authority – The Transit Authority of River City, or TARC.
“In greater Louisville, TARC plays a vital role in economic growth and workforce development by helping thousands of individuals in our region get to and from work, school, and job interviews every day. TARC helps remove one of the most common barriers to work we hear about from regional employers: transportation,” said Wilbur Glick.
TARC recently received a major Federal Transit Administration grant of $17.3 million to replace aging buses in its fleet. The grant is dependent upon a $4.325 million match. GLI has encouraged legislators to utilize a portion of Kentucky’s share of the Volkswagen Settlement to ensure our region does not miss out on this opportunity to leverage federal dollars to support workforce development and remove barriers to employment.
Kentucky was named a beneficiary of a multi-billion dollar Volkswagen settlement in 2016, after the company was found guilty of cheating emissions test and deceiving customers. As a beneficiary of the settlement, the Commonwealth will receive approximately $20 million over the next 10 years but must allocate the funds in accordance with a consent decree agreed upon by the U.S. Department of Justice and the Volkswagen Corporation and its subsidiaries.
Good afternoon, Chair Bechler and members of the committee.
My name is Iris Wilbur Glick with Greater Louisville Inc. GLI is a chamber of commerce and economic development organization representing more than 1,700 businesses in the greater Louisville region.
Two major priorities for GLI include enhancing the quality of life in our region and developing a globally competitive workforce that can drive economic growth and attract new businesses.
With that in mind, GLI is here today to urge the General Assembly to utilize the Volkswagen Settlement funding to invest in regions experiencing serious air quality challenges and prioritize projects that will bring economic benefit.
As many of you know, greater Louisville consists of counties currently identified as maintenance status and non-attainment for NOx emissions. Of all areas in the state, our region also had by far the most registered faulty Volkswagen vehicles.
By investing in the metro regions, where it can have the greatest impact and go furthest in fulfilling the key purposes of the settlement- will result in significant air quality gains and healthier communities, both of which will contribute to a stronger economy here in Kentucky.
In order to fully capitalize on the unprecedented economic growth the Commonwealth has experienced in the past few years, we encourage swift implementation and allocation of funds to projects like electric vehicle infrastructure and mass transit support to help our economy to continue moving forward.
One notable opportunity, in particular, is to leverage the Settlement by investing in a significant federal grant award.
Last year, the federal government awarded our regional public transportation provider, TARC- the Transit Authority of River City, a 17.3 million dollar Federal Transit Administration grant to support the replacement of 40 buses in TARC’s fleet. This is the largest FTA award in TARC’s history. The grant, however, is dependent upon a 4.325 million dollar match.
In greater Louisville, TARC plays a vital role in economic growth and workforce development by helping thousands of individuals in our region get to and from work, school, and job interviews every day. TARC helps remove one of the most common barriers to work we hear about from regional employers: transportation.
With over 12.5 million trips per year, TARC has an annual economic impact of over 221 million dollars throughout our region, including Jefferson, Bullitt, and Oldham counties.
GLI strongly urges this body to seize this opportunity and utilize a portion of the Volkswagen Settlement to help TARC match this FTA grant.
This appropriation would not only align with the intent and environmental goals of the Settlement but would also support workforce and economic development in our region.
Thank you for this opportunity to share one of GLI’s top priorities in 2020.