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Commuters may be reimbursed for closed highway travel

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By MAUREEN ROSE
Gold Standard Acting Editor
maureen.rose@us.army.mil
In the wake of the Oct. 29 P&L railway derailment in West Point, Ky., those commuters forced to detour around closed Highway 31W will be reimbursed for their additional driving miles, according to P&L spokesperson Bonnie Hackbarth.
Those West Point residents who were evacuated due to the derailment and subsequent fire will be reimbursed for their living expenses. However, for most Fort Knox employees who commute to Shepherdsville, Louisville or points north, the reimbursement will be limited to a flat $100 one-time payment, Hackbarth explained. The specific criteria for payment will hinge on residential addresses; those who live within a five mile radius of the derailment qualify for 50 cents per mile for commuting while those who live outside that five-mile radius should get the $100.
To begin the reimbursement process, anyone needing to make a first-time mileage claim will need to make an appointment by calling (731) 614-7636.
“I know the line is busy, but please be patient and call back,” Hackbarth said. “We have many operators working that line, so someone will get to you.”
The call will be to establish an appointment at the outreach center in the VFW post in Louisville at 6518 Blevins Gap Rd. The operators can assist callers with further information, but Hackbarth said most commuters would need to bring:
1). Photo proof of identification;
2). Proof of residence (outside the five-mile radius); usually a utility bill is sufficient;
3). Proof of your employment place, which could be:
a. A pay stub, if it designates your job location (a computer access card isn’t specific enough);
b. A letter from your supervisor on the company letterhead specifying where you work.
The company has had so many reimbursements requests, Hackbarth said P&L implemented the appointment system to help; already 2,100 appointments have been made and most of those customers have already been seen.
“We’re even seeing clients on Saturdays,” Hackbarth said. “There are no plans to close the outreach centers at this point.”
Even once the centers close, she said there would be some system left in place for those who still needed to file claims.
For those who live within the five-mile radius and have living expense claims, a call should be made to (270) 307-5854 and an appointment will be made for those callers at the West Point outreach center.
For other claims questions not involving mileage, a toll free line is available at (800) 786-5204. For nonclaims questions about the chemicals, derailment and other general questions, operators are available at (866) 728-9210.