Amazon warehouse in Shepherdsville KY

One of Amazon's distribution centers off Cedar Grove Road in Shepherdsville, Ky. (Doug Smith, WDRB)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Bullitt County officials are looking to start a private bus service so that people in West Louisville who may not own a car can access jobs at Amazon, Radial, Best Buy, Gordon Food Service and other big warehouse employers in Shepherdsville.

Transit Authority of the River City, Louisville’s publicly funded bus agency, offers service to Shepherdsville, but the route stops well short of the Cedar Grove industrial park where many of the distribution centers are located.

Someone using TARC’s route 66x would have to get off the bus in the heart of Shepherdsville near Interstate 65’s exit 117 and then walk about four miles, crossing the Salt River on the way, to reach the business park.

John Snider, executive director of the Bullitt County Economic Development Authority, said he hopes to secure a $150,000 workforce development grant from state government to start the shuttle service, which would also require funding from the warehouse employers and from the workers using it.

The idea is to connect “the west side of Louisville” to Cedar Grove, but many of the details haven’t been worked out and there is no timeline for the project, Snider told WDRB on Friday.

Snider said there always 1,000 to 2,000 open jobs in the county – mostly in Cedar Grove – and they generally pay at least $15 an hour.

“We need a way to find additional employees to work for the companies that are here, but also it’s a chance to allow people who cannot find employment (to access) additional jobs,” Snider said.

TARC’s interim executive director, Ferdinand Risco, said the bus agency doesn’t have the money to extend service to the many warehouse employers at Cedar Grove. “It’s just financing; how do we pay for it?” Risco said.

In fact, Risco indicated the existing Shepherdsville express route could be on the chopping block as it is one of the least-used in TARC’s system.  

“We have adjusted that route and tried to optimize it quite a few times, and quite frankly, it’s just very expensive and (there’s) not a lot of ridership at all, and it hasn’t been over the years,” he said.

Risco acknowledged that TARC has never extended the route to the Cedar Grove business park, however. He said additional funding would be necessary to do that.

“If you continue stretch further, it would continue to cost money, and it’s a route we already cannot afford,” Risco said.

Risco said TARC would be eager to “partner” with Bullitt County to get grant funding for the route.

TARC is funded through taxes on the paychecks of workers in Jefferson County, but not in Bullitt County. The agency also gets state and federal funding.

Reach reporter Chris Otts at 502-585-0822, cotts@wdrb.com, on Twitter or on Facebook. Copyright 2019 WDRB News. All rights reserved.

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Chris Otts reports for WDRB.com about business and economic topics, higher education and local / state government. He joined WDRB News in 2013 after seven years with The Courier-Journal. Got a tip? Chris is at 502-585-0822 and cotts@wdrb.com.