Metro area planning group sets $1 billion in projects for 2014-17

At its monthly meeting, the mayors that comprise the executive board for the Nashville Area Metropolitan Planning Organization adopted the region’s 2014-17 work program, a roster of surface transportation projects totaling almost $1 billion. The Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) delineates how greater-Nashville will allocate federal, state, and local funding on all regionally significant transportation projects in the near-term.

The board’s adoption of the 2014-17 TIP comes on the heels of an October vote to endorse a rank-ordered list of area projects that the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) will consider for state funding in its next three-year work program. The MPO serves as the official conduit through which local communities interface with the state DOT on area surface transportation needs. For the second consecutive year, mayors from seven-plus counties placed Metro-Nashville’s 7.1-mile Bus Rapid Transit line, ‘The Amp,’ at the top of that priority-list for state funding.

While the MPO does not directly operate transportation services or construct facilities, it does have the authority to plan, prioritize, and fund transportation projects with federal-aid appropriated through the U.S. Dept. of Transportation. “First and foremost, your MPO is a forum for local communities, through their elected representatives, to discuss how they want to invest in transportation infrastructure and services to support our stated goals for livability, sustainability, prosperity, and diversity here in Middle Tennessee,” said MPO Executive Director Michael Skipper.

Project-types contained in a typical TIP might include: new roadways; roadway widening, resurfacing, or reconstruction; intersection and interchange improvements; bridge repairs or replacement; Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS); sidewalks and bicycle lanes; greenways and multi-use trails; transit vehicles, stations, and passenger amenities; vanpool programs; paratransit services for the elderly and disabled; and air-quality outreach (i.e., ‘Ozone Action Days’).

Notable representative projects among the nearly 200 in the TIP include:
– The reconfiguration of Donelson Pike and interchange ramps at I-40 near Nashville International Airport (BNA).
– Construction of a permanent commuter-rail station area at Hamilton Springs, along the Music City Star rail line.
– Preliminary engineering on a major bridge rehabilitation where I-65 and I-40 intersect in Nashville.
– Purchase/installation of ITS equipment at Nashville MTA operations centers, as well as Automatic-Vehicle Locators (AVL) on all MTA buses that travel throughout Davidson County.
– Engineering and implementation of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) along the Main St/Broadway/West End corridor, including a $4 million investment from the MPO itself via its discretionary grant funding.

The MPO maintains a user-friendly, online TIP database that catalogues a wide breadth of information on every project contained in the four-year work program, available at . Members of the public can submit comments on the TIP at any time using this interactive, Web-based application, and review key project details (cost, funding sources, location, justification, phase of implementation, photos). MPO staff and TCC members are also available to field additional questions, and accept comments from the public and other area stakeholders.
For information about ongoing efforts to support a regional transportation system that will accommodate population and employment growth over the next 25 years in a way that improves quality-of-life, visit NashvilleMPO.org/2035.

The Nashville Area MPO is the federally-designated transportation planning agency for over 2800 sq. mi. and more than 1.5 million people throughout Davidson, Rutherford, Sumner, Williamson, Wilson, and parts of Maury and Robertson counties.