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KYTC seeking public comments on state’s rail plan at Ashland meeting


The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet is seeking public input as they continue to develop the commonwealth’s rail plan.

Allen Blair is the spokesman for the KYTC. He said the 2024 Kentucky Statewide Rail Plan is a high-level guidance document that aims to build a snapshot of the state’s current needs when it comes to passenger and freight rail.

“There won’t be any specifics in it outside of what we are finding the public wants to see in terms of what rail enhancements could be in the future, and what they would like to see in the future,” he said. “That’s kind of what we’re looking at, a document that will help guide all partners at the table on what future rail service enhancements might look like.”

A 2021 Legislative Research Commission report showed Kentucky has 15 freight railroads featuring more than 2,600 miles of freight rail. Blair added passenger rail is a small part of Kentucky’s system as well.

“There are stations between Cincinnati and Ashland on the Amtrak Cardinal Line, and theres another Amtrak line that moves through Western Kentucky through Fulton. Louisville has connections to rail lines that start out of Indianapolis,” he said. “So, passenger rail does touch on Kentucky.”

KYTC said the first phase of the state’s rail plan began in 2023 with a thorough infrastructure assessment on the existing rail. The current and next phases of the plan will focus on gathering input from the public and on development of the rail plan document.

After all phases are completed, the rail plan will be finalized and reviewed by the KYTC for adoption and implementation next year.

On March 13, KYTC will host an in-person open house at the Ashland Transportation Center from 4 to 7 p.m. The meeting will feature information about the Statewide Rail Plan and allow attendees to explain how they use or want to use railways, as well as outline their thoughts on Kentucky’s rail priorities going forward.

Those unable to attend the in-person event can still provide comments by completing the survey found online.