Riverport will get more TARC service, thanks to $2.5 million grant

Jefferson Riverport International will see more TARC service, thanks to a $2.5 million Congestion Mitigation Air Quality non-infrastructure match grant administered by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.

In announcing the expanded service Tuesday, stakeholders said increased bus service would improve the industrial park’s air quality and also alleviate a challenge Riverport companies face: finding and keeping workers.

A new circulator route is expected to begin in the fall during “peak employment season,” officials said.

Riverport is just a few miles from the UPS Worldport and at the juncture of three highways, and the complex has an Ohio River port.

But the business park has been inconvenient for workers who depend on public transit. This grant helps TARC to create a new circulator route that will allow people to more easily access a number of local connecting bus routes.

There are 120 companies, including Coca-Cola, Cafe Press, Kentucky Trailer and Genentech, with more than 6,500 employees at Riverport. It’s one of the region’s largest employment centers.

“Increased service to and from Riverport is something TARC and all our partners have pursued for years. We are all delighted to enable people to access jobs more thoroughly and completely than any time in the past,” says TARC Executive Director Barry Barker in a news release.

The entire three-year operating cost of the circulator is about $3.2 million. TARC provided a 20 percent match to the grant to make up the difference.

Proposed circulator route | Map courtesy of TARC

Getting reliable, regular public transit to Riverport has been a topic of discussion for a while. Opening up these jobs to people without reliable private transportation has been a suggestion to help fight poverty in the past.

In the spring of 2016, hundreds of people turned up for a public meeting about housing and transportation challenges held by CLOUT (Citizens of Louisville Organized and United Together). The Rev. Reginald Barnes of Brown Memorial CME Church at West Chestnut and South Eighth streets directly challenged Aida Copic, director of planning for TARC, to create a plan for how the bus system could improve transportation to and from Riverport. She agreed.

Plans are also in place for improved traffic lights and safer road crossings for pedestrians.

“This project removes the obstacle of transportation faced by many citizens who may be seeking a job, and it boosts businesses that need workers,” said Mayor Greg Fischer in a news release. “Our goal here is for a project that lifts up these businesses with good employees, and opens doors for citizens to reach their full human potential.”