Dean files $300 million capital spending plan with Metro Council

Wednesday, May 29, 2013 at 5:02pm

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:

  • $20 million for road paving and $8 million for sidewalks
  • $2 million for bikeways and $3 million for greenways
  • $4 million for maintenance projects at libraries, including new carpet, paint and HVAC (this will be the first time the Nashville Public Library will be provided an on-going source for general maintenance for the branch libraries)
  • $1 million to Limitless Libraries to upgrade two middle school libraries, similar to the Hillwood High School library renovation that was undertaken with private funds
  • $1 million for deferred maintenance at Centennial Sportsplex
  • $1.5 million for Phase 2 of the Centennial Park Master Plan and $1.5 million for Phase 3 of the Shelby Park Master Plan
  • $5 million for road and infrastructure changes at the entrance to the Nashville Zoo at Grassmere, which is currently undergoing a major expansion (the Nashville Zoo is located on land owned by Metro Parks)

7 Comments on this post:

By: Shane Smiley on 5/30/13 at 10:47

The administration has once again turned its nose up at the Fairgrounds.
The Fairgrounds pays into the Metro coffers thru LOCAP and now Internal Service Fees every year.
However, The request for Capital Improvement Budget is continually overlooked by this administration despite the 71% of the voters who mandated thru the referendum.the Fairgrounds events stay in place.
Please call your CIty Council member and encourage them to support the Fairgrounds
"Where Nashville comes together"

By: MusicCityUSA on 5/30/13 at 10:15

The Amp as proposed is a very good start to a much larger rapid transit system for Nashville and Middle Tennessee. Now is the time to invest. We are already behind Austin and Charlotte in mass transit, lets not wait any longer.There are over 156 cities operating BRT systems around the world today, we know it works. We know it brings economic development ($4 Billion in Cleveland alone), BRT makes it easier to get around town, reduces parking demand (park once instead of 3 or 4 times while you're out), and gives people better choices. BRT delivers the most bang for the rapid-transit buck. If we are successful in getting the federal grants, building the Amp should be the easiest decision ever. Those federal dollars are our tax money too you know. If we don't get our act together here, those taxes we paid will just go to build rapid transit in some other city; one that is smart enough and cares enough to invest in itself.

By: govskeptic on 5/31/13 at 4:22

Unlike MusicCityUSA, I don't buy into the half-truths of the PR on benefits of
Rapid Transit as it relates to Nashville. The Mayor's office has already been
told the Federal Budget Deficits makes any hope for federal dollars to any
BRT here are extremely unlikely. Just like putting an Expensive Police Station
across the street from the MCC, to keep the homeless at bay, this administration
pushes forward with any plans they dream up with the taxpayer concerns be damned.

By: Captain Nemo on 5/31/13 at 6:05

I like his plan, but it will be water-down by council.

The one-stop Permit Center I think will be a big improvement.

By: Captain Nemo on 5/31/13 at 6:08

I like his plan, but it will be water-down by council.

The one-stop Permit Center I think will be a big improvement.

By: MusicCity615 on 5/31/13 at 10:04

Great post MusicCityUSA- I couldn't agree more.

By: nvestnbna on 6/2/13 at 2:15

I agree with MusicCityUSA on the AMP, I just think we have to continue to go for it even if the prospects are daunting.

With respect to the Downtown Police precinct and govskeptics take - "Just like putting an Expensive Police Station across the street from the MCC, to keep the homeless at bay," sadly the city seems determined to spend an exorbitant amount of money going forward, cynically I might add, to keep the vagrant population the city seems so intent on concentrating just south of the MCC at bay. Drove down Demonbreun the other morning, hardly a soul around, but already a couple of vagrants hanging out in the MCC tunnel.