Governor Steve Beshear's Communications Office
Gov. Beshear Announces $16.9 million TIGER Grant, Plus $11.5 million State Investment in ‘Transforming Dixie Highway’ Project

Press Release Date:  Monday, November 02, 2015  
Contact Information:  Terry Sebastian
Jennifer Brislin

Enables coordinated work to address safety, congestion, transit, access, pedestrians

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Governor Steve Beshear, along with Congressman John Yarmuth, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and a host of local legislators and Metro Council members, today celebrated the awarding of a $16.9 million federal grant to help transform Dixie Highway into a model corridor for commuters, commerce and pedestrian safety.

The grant, from the federal initiative known as TIGER – Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery – will be added to $11.5 million in state highway funds that Gov. Beshear’s administration has already invested in the project.

The Kentucky Highway Plan provides that funding to improve 3.7 miles of Dixie Highway (U.S. 31W) between Crums Lane and Greenwood Road. The entire area of the project – named Transforming Dixie Highway – runs from Broadway in downtown Louisville to the Gene Snyder Freeway.

“Dixie Highway once ran through farmland, minutes from downtown Louisville,” Gov. Beshear said. “But over the last 100 years it has grown to become a critical corridor for moving people and freight between Louisville and Fort Knox and points to the southwest. Today it is wide, heavily used and often unsafe.

“The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet long has recognized Dixie Highway’s strategic importance and poor repair and committed $11.5 million in state highway funds toward the required match for a TIGER grant. With the TIGER grant now secured, the cabinet and Louisville Metro Government will be empowered to take a holistic approach to the Dixie Highway Corridor, addressing safety, congestion, transit operations, access management and pedestrian connectivity in an integrated way,” Gov. Beshear said.

Dixie Highway carries more than 60,000 vehicles and 4,800 bus riders per day in certain sections. For thousands of Kentuckians, it is the road to jobs, schools and medical facilities. But with years of wear and tear, compounded by an outmoded design insufficient for modern traffic needs, Dixie Highway today is known as much for crashes and injuries as for its importance as a corridor.

The Transforming Dixie Highway project has three components: “intelligent traffic” signalization to reduce commuter delays; new sidewalks and improved crosswalks to enhance pedestrian safety; new buses, enhanced stops and dedicated bus lanes to accommodate Bus Rapid Transit.

“This federal investment will not only respond to congestion and safety concerns, it will revitalize the Dixie Highway corridor, by making it a national model of regional commercial and multi-modal integration,” said Yarmuth. “At a time when federal dollars for infrastructure have been severely cut, for this project to receive full funding shows just how important these improvements are to our city, this region and our nation.”

“The name Dixie Highway is synonymous with traffic congestion, pedestrian deaths and vehicle accidents,” the Mayor Fischer said. “This project will transform Dixie Highway and make it safer for drivers and pedestrians. It will also make the commercial stretch more attractive and improve public transit along one of our city’s most important thoroughfares.”

“It’s not often that we can make such an impactful investment that will have a positive long-term impact on the community,” Mayor Fischer said. “We set out to think big and think bold about a better and safer Dixie Highway – and now we have the federal dollars to bring this innovative project to reality.”