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Jackson Purchase: Major Issues for the 2016 budget

The far western eight counties of Kentucky, known as the Jackson Purchase, are defined in part by being bordered by the Mississippi River, the Ohio River, the Tennessee River, and the Cumberland River.

This act of geography is a major platform for West Kentucky making the 21st Century a century in which opportunities for West Kentucky economic growth to add thousands of new jobs to Kentucky's economy.

West Kentucky is moving to be a new major national asset in fresh water, food, energy and tourism.

This region of Kentucky is being redefined by massive state, regional and national forces for new economic growth. These new factors of the 21st Century include:

(1) impact of new Panama Canal cargo shipping coming into New Orleans, (2) one of the largest concentration of fresh water supply in the United States
(3) one of America's largest concentrations of farm land
(4) great potential for increased tourism from 2016 Kentucky birthday (225 years) and the Jackson Purchase 200th birthday in 2018, and
(5) thousands of baby boomers potentially retiring into West Kentucky communities.

These are proposed steps for the 2016-2018 Kentucky State budget that will help to foster new economic development jobs in West Kentucky.

Economic Development

1. Place a citizen of the Jackson Purchase directly upon the Delta Regional Authority to help with leadership for the Mississippi River.

2. Establish a new Small Town 21st Century fund for rebuilding old community downtown central business districts. Work with banks on this.

3. A small resort lodge at Columbus State Park.

4. Design and build a new river port on Mississippi River.

5. Provide leadership with regional universities to establish a West Kentucky Higher Education Opportunities Program for allowing college students to work toward large scale rebuilding small towns.

6. Rethink the concept of regionalism in Kentucky, Area Development Districts, and the whole organizational structure of the Kentucky Economic Cabinet along with the Economic Development Partnership board from the angle who is calling the shots in Kentucky: The Governor or some private special interests.

Transportation

1. Extend four lane of Highway 80 from Mayfield to Columbus, Ky.

2. Create new four lane highway from Fulton to Wickliffe, Ky.

3. Study and design for a modern bridge to be built (Carlisle County and or Hickman County) across the Mississippi River for National Security reasons.

4. Completion of four lane bridges across the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers.

5. Work with Legislative leadership to make the Special Rivers Committee a source of new state budget power to fully develop Kentucky Rivers for this new 21st Century. Impact would be on 75 Kentucky counties.

Tourism

1. Make the Jackson Purchase the anchor for a new national and international Tourism Corridor running from Columbus to Pikeville.

2. Use Highway 80 as its backbone with an economic impact on 50 Southern Kentucky counties.

Taken together, these priorities promise big returns for a forgotten corner of the state to increase its economic viability.


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