Regional
9:38 am
Thu January 3, 2013

Daviess County Rep. Hoping for Redistricting, Better Interstate Connectivity for Owensboro

A view from Smothers Park in downtown Owensboro
A view from Smothers Park in downtown Owensboro
Credit City of Owensboro

A lawmaker representing Daviess and Ohio counties hopes legislators will tackle redistricting during this upcoming General Assembly--as opposed to putting it off until 2014. Democratic Representative Tommy Thompson of Owensboro told WKU Public Radio the sooner new legislative boundaries are created, the better.

“And that way people would know what districts they’re going to be working in. If there are new districts, they’d have time to acquaint themselves with new constituents in their district. So I just think that we’d be better served to deal with it sooner rather than later,” said Thompson.

Kentucky lawmakers created new legislative maps last year, but the new boundaries were found to be unconstitutional, meaning legislators have to start from scratch.

Thompson says he wouldn't be surprised if lawmakers tackled the redistricting issue during a special session after the official 2013 legislature is over. Many lawmakers believe the worst-case scenario would be waiting until the 2014 session to redraw the lines, because a new state budget will already be taking up a great deal of legislators' attention that year.

Possible Interstate Connections for Owensboro/Daviess County Region

Business and political leaders in the Daviess County region are trying to figure out the best--and most cost-effective--way possible to link the area up with an interstate. Rep. Thompson says he's excited about the possibility of connecting the region to the I-67 project in Indiana.

He says the Hoosier State has built a four-lane road connecting the William H. Natcher bridge with the U.S.-231 corridor and I-64 in Evansville.

"There's an I-67 project about 37 miles long that would start where that intersection is with 231 and I-64 and go north--about 37 miles to near Washington, Indiana, and tie in with I-69 there. And all of a sudden we would have a link that would go all the way from Birmingham, Alabama, through Nashville, through Bowling Green, through Owensboro, on up through Indiana and into Chicago and Michigan," Thompson told WKU Public Radio.

Thompson says Kentucky's price tag for such a project would be between $500,000 and $600,000--considerably less than proposals to link the area with I-69 out of Indianapolis. That project would require a new bridge to be built over the Ohio River connecting Kentucky and Indiana, at a cost of around $1 billion.