Home » OP-ED: Further KPDI funding will provide long-term growth, ROI regionally

OP-ED: Further KPDI funding will provide long-term growth, ROI regionally

First $31.2M for 45 Ky projects additional $123M in investment
By Clark Welch

LOUISVILLE — The Greater Louisville region has experienced impressive economic growth over the past three years, with transformative investments announced across a variety of key target industries, including advanced manufacturing, logistics and technology. The success on both sides of the Ohio River is not only the result of favorable economic headwinds, it is also a testament to thoughtful economic development policies and programs developed in Frankfort and Indianapolis over the past several years. That’s why it is more important than ever our elected officials continue investing in innovative strategies to help set our region apart in the growing competition for investment and high-paying jobs.

As the regional economic development organization for the 15-county Greater Louisville region, GLI works closely with site selectors, business executives, and real estate brokers to promote corporate expansion and relocation opportunities across our region. We have seen firsthand how this public funding leads to increased investment from the private sector. By investing in ourselves, programs like READI and KPDI are allowing our bi-state region to meet the needs of high-growth industries and remain competitive on the national stage. 

In 2021, Indiana launched the Regional Economic Acceleration and Development Initiative (READI) program, with a vision to transform communities through targeted quality of life projects that attract a talented workforce. Similarly, the Kentucky Product Development Initiative (KPDI), also launched in 2021, and dedicated $100 million towards improving sites and infrastructure in order to increase economic development opportunities across the state.

Through KPDI, local governments and economic development organizations can apply for funding up to $2 million per county that can be used for transformative site and infrastructure improvements. This covers everything from due diligence studies, property acquisition, infrastructure and road improvements, and even building construction and renovation. READI provides financial commitments up to $75 million to regions that submit an application for grants or loans from the fund to implement their Regional Economic Acceleration and Development Strategy.

Three counties in the Greater Louisville region, Shelby, Nelson and Oldham, are under consideration to receive KPDI funding through the current funding phase. The initial $31.2 million in state funding allocated to 45 Kentucky projects has been leveraged to generate over $123 million in additional investment across the state. READI has awarded grants to 17 regional partners that represent all 92 Indiana counties, including the five counties in the Greater Louisville region, for projects ranging from community centers and parks to early learning centers and workforce housing.

Indiana’s READI program recently received a second state budget appropriation of $500 million, which builds on the momentum generated by a first round of funding in 2021. With the Kentucky General Assembly now in session, GLI strongly encourages the Kentucky Legislature to include increased KPDI funding to maintain our region’s growth trajectory and competitive edge. We also encourage legislators to consider expanding eligibility to support additional projects, including mixed use development.

GLI is working daily to sell our region’s competitive costs of doing business, amenities, and talent to prospective companies. Last year, we saw a 93% increase in the number of projects in our regional pipeline, which shows an increased interest in relocating and expanding to our region. If we can add a strong portfolio of build-ready sites to our offerings while investing in quality of life assets, we will continue to build on our positive economic momentum.

Clark Welch

Clark Welch is Greater Louisville Inc.’s vice president of economic development.

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