Mayor Karl Dean’s administration has filed a $300 million capital spending plan with the Metro Council, calling for spending on school facilities and setting aside funds for his proposed bus rapid transit project.
“Just like I said during State of Metro last week, Nashville’s high quality of life is a big reason for our current success and momentum,” Dean said in a prepared statement. “We need to keep investing in the things that make this a great place to live and work. This capital spending plan will help make Nashville an even better city by maintaining and expanding our schools, repairing roads and building sidewalks, expanding our greenways and bikeways, investing in mass transit and making it easier and faster for small and mid-size companies to open their doors.”
Nearly a third of the funds in the spending plan are designated for Metro Schools, which will receive $95 million. Those funds will allow the district to replace Goodlettsville Middle School, renovate and open Waverly Belmont Elementary School and build a new elementary school in Antioch, according to the administration’s release. Money will also be available for maintenance projects and school expansions district-wide.
Out of $27 million designated for the Metro Transit Authority, $7.5 million would be set aside for The Amp, Dean’s proposed bus rapid transit project from Five Points in East Nashville to White Bridge Road in West Nashville. Those funds would be earmarked for the next stage of engineering in the project, but the administration said the money would not be spent until The Amp is accepted into the Federal Transit Administration’s Small Starts program.
Earlier this month, Rep. Jim Cooper’s office confirmed that the Nashville Congressman has doubts about the availability of crucial federal funding for the $174 million project, which would require $75 million in federal dollars. The mayor’s office, however, has maintained that the project is on track and that FTA officials have encouraged them to move forward.
The Amp’s inclusion in Dean’s capital spending plan will allow the Metro Council its first chance to officially weigh in on the project.
The spending plan also includes $3 million to create a One-Stop Permit Center. Located at the Metro Office Building on the Fulton Campus, the center would bring together “key staff” from the Planning, Codes, Water Services and Stormwater departments, as well as the Historic Zoning Commission and the Fire Marshall’s office. As a result, the administration said, the center “will simplify the regulatory and permitting process for property owners and allow small and mid-size businesses to begin operations quicker.”
Other items in the spending plan highlighted by the Dean administration include: