Kenneth H. Tuggle, 73, a former chairman of the Interstate Commerce Commission and a member of the federal regulatory agency for 22 years, died Saturday in Louisville, Ky.

Mr. Tuggle, who retired from the ICC in mid 1975 because of "sudden and imperative reasons of health," had suffered from a heart ailment and had been hospitalized in Louisville since late January.

Initially appointed to the ICC in 1953 by the late president Eisenhower, Mr. Tuggle was chairman of the agency in 1959, and head of its finance division from 1980 until his retirement - a period that included major railroad mergers in which he played an influential supervisory role.

Born in Barbourville, Ky., Mr. Tuggle earned undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Kentucky. He was engaged in private law practive until his ICC appointment. He also orgainzed the Union National Bank of Barbourville and was board chairman until 1953.

From 1943 to 1947. Mr. Tuggle was lieutenant governor of Kentucky, and was president of the state Senate in 1944 and 1946.

Once named to the ICC, he was reappointed to three more seven-year terms by president Eisenhower, Kennedy and Johnson.

Although Mr. Tuggle reached the mandatory retirement age of 70 in 1974, and executive order of former president Nixon kept him on the job into 1975 because of the bankruptcies and reorganization of railroads in the Northeast.

Regarded as one of the government's top experts on the rail industry. Mr. Tuggle expressed unhappiness at having to retire in 1975, before the rail crisis was solved.

"While the rail restructure project is nearing its final stages and our organization is actively carrying out its assignments. I regret that my health does not permit me to remain in the commission's service." Mr. Tuggle said in a July 14, 1975, letter to former president Ford.

Mr. Tuggle took a special interest in higher education in Kentucky and was a member of the board of trustees at Union College in Barbourville for 36 years.