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State Pushing Waste Management Grants

Press release from the Department of Environment & Conservation; July 5, 2012: 

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Department of Environment and Conservation Commissioner Bob Martineau announced today more than $318,000 in grants to support solid waste management activities in communities across Tennessee.

The Tennessee General Assembly established development districts in 1966 to do general and comprehensive planning and conduct development and administration activities for local governments, and eight of the state’s nine development districts will receive grants totaling $318,578 in fiscal year 2012-2013.

“Our development districts provide a resource for local community and municipal leaders, and the functions supported by these grants help advance Tennessee’s goals in the area of solid waste reduction and management,” Haslam said.

Tennessee’s development districts assist the state’s solid waste planning regions in compiling information about landfills, source reduction, composting and recycling for the state’s Annual Progress Report. The report is a planning and reporting tool required by the Solid Waste Management Act of 1991, which was the first comprehensive solid waste planning legislation in Tennessee history. The data is used to determine each region’s progress towards Tennessee’s goal to achieve 25 percent waste reduction in Class I landfill solid waste.

Local governments also receive technical assistance from development districts in designing, implementing, upgrading and maintaining solid waste programs, systems and facilities, including landfills, convenience centers and recycling centers.

“The ongoing support of the state’s development district offices has been instrumental in assisting these regions with their long-term waste reduction goals and planning,” Martineau said. “We are pleased to be in a position to continue our support of these critical efforts.”

Grant amounts are determined on an annual basis and awarded based on available funding and the scope of work undertaken by each district. The grants announced today include:

East Tennessee Development District                            $36,860
First Tennessee Development District                           $41,190
Greater Nashville Regional Council                                 $42,629
Northwest Tennessee Development District                 $43,735
Southwest Tennessee Development District                 $28,350
Upper Cumberland Development District                     $38,970
South Central Tennessee Development District           $41,100
Southeast Tennessee Development District                  $45,744

Development District Grants were authorized by the Solid Waste Management Act of 1991 and are supported from the Tennessee Solid Waste Management Fund that is administered by the Department of Environment and Conservation. The Tennessee Solid Waste Management Fund receives its revenues from a tipping fee surcharge on each ton of solid waste disposed of in Class I landfills and from a pre-disposal fee on new tires sold in the state.

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State Awards $800K to Oak Ridge for Parking Lot Project

Press release from the Office of Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam; June 22, 2012:

OAK RIDGE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) Commissioner John Schroer today announced a nearly $800,000 grant to transform Jackson Square in Oak Ridge.

The $798,687 transportation enhancement grant is for Phase I of the Jackson Square Townsite Reconfiguration Project, which includes major modifications to the parking lot on Broadway Avenue.

The project will transform this area into an attractive, landscaped plaza and parking area. Public sidewalks adjacent to the area will be reconstructed and will be connected to new sidewalks within the landscaped plaza. The project will also add park benches, bicycle racks, canopy trees, and pedestrian lighting.

“The Jackson Square project will further Oak Ridge’s efforts to enhance its historic downtown area and provide increased mobility and improved access to small businesses and cultural activities,” Haslam said. “Projects such as this one enhance local communities and make Tennessee an even better place to live, work and play.”

“Through Transportation Enhancement grants, TDOT has funded more than $270 million in non-traditional transportation projects,” Schroer said. “This program has assisted communities all over the state in their efforts to revitalize downtowns, highlight historic areas, provide alternative means of transportation, and increase opportunities for economic development.”

The grant is made possible through a federally funded program administered by TDOT. A variety of activities such as the restoration of historic facilities, bike and pedestrian trails, landscaping and other non-traditional transportation projects are eligible for grant funds under the federal program.

State Sen. Randy McNally (R-Oak Ridge) and State Reps. Kelly Keisling (R-Byrdstown) and John Ragan (R-Oak Ridge) represent Anderson County in the Tennessee General Assembly.

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Business and Economy Featured NewsTracker Tax and Budget Transparency and Elections

Senate Delays Economic Development Disclosure Bill

A legislative effort to prevent the public from seeing certain information state government wants to collect from businesses seeking millions in Tennessee taxpayer-financed handouts got bogged down Monday night amid concerns over the bill’s scope.

Lawmakers on the floor of the Tennessee Senate debated for about half an hour whether the Department of Economic and Community Development should require businesses to submit more information — like company ownership, financial statements and cash flow reports.

The sticking point arose over the bill’s assurances that the extra disclosure requirements wouldn’t be disclosed to the public.

“Quite frankly, it seems to me irresponsible,” said Sen. Roy Herron, D-Dresden, adding that the measure creates a “secret cloak” to shroud information that ought not be hidden.

“It’s hard for me to believe that we don’t know, that ECD doesn’t know — and that others who ask questions can’t know right now — who owns these companies when we’re proposing to give tax dollars to them,” Herron said.

The measure’s sponsor agreed Monday to delay the bill while the Haslam administration, which is pushing the legislation, attempts to address Herron’s chief complaint that the measure would keep secret the names of people who own businesses winning grants. “The idea that we’re hiding something that is currently public is misleading,” said Sen. Bo Watson, a Hixson Republican.

The company details, which are not currently collected, would be used for “due diligence” investigations by ECD as part of a process to award up to $70 million in FastTrack development grants outlined in the governor’s 2013 fiscal year budget plan, in addition to other tax incentives and government-funded inducements to private business.

The amount constitutes a dramatic expansion in the taxpayer-funded program for businesses. Since 2006, the state has allotted $38.5 million annually, on average, for the FastTrack program.

The measure has so far earned all yes votes in both House and Senate committees. It is up for a vote in the House Commerce Committee Tuesday and on the Senate floor again Thursday.

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Business and Economy Featured NewsTracker Tax and Budget

Haslam, Parton Pair Up

Dolly Parton is planning to build the nation’s first snow and water park in Nashville, and taxpayers are going to help foot the bill — an unknown amount about which officials hemmed and hawed at a Thursday announcement.

Gov. Bill Haslam is promising Parton new road turnoffs and infrastructure grants for the country music star’s new amusement park planned to open summer 2014 in Nashville. Haslam said he didn’t know how much the state’s total incentive package for the new park would cost taxpayers.

Nashville Mayor Karl Dean also signaled city support for marketing and infrastructure but, similarly, did not elaborate.

The amusement park, a product of Gaylord Entertainment Co. and Parton’s Dollywood Company, is so far unnamed, but officials said they believe the $50 million project will attract some half million visitors in its first 12 months of operation at a site near the Gaylord Opryland hotel off Briley Parkway. Parton and Gaylord CEO Collin Reed say it would create 450 jobs.

“If you think about it, the state lives off of sales tax,” Haslam told reporters after palling around onstage with Parton at the Grand Ole Opry. “And there’s no question this is something that’s going to draw people from outside the state, so I do think it’ll mean new dollars for Tennessee.”

Haslam said the development would build on the state’s tourism industry, one of the largest moneymakers in the state.

In addition to road work, the project will qualify for state FastTrack Infrastructure Development grants, Haslam said. Those are the same kind of grants that the state used to reel in companies like Volkswagen in Chattanooga.

Haslam said he wasn’t sure whether the project would qualify for an expansion of that program he has pitched this year. Haslam’s plan — SB 2206 — would specify that “funds be used in exceptional circumstances when the funds will make a proportionally significant economic impact on the affected community.”

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Grants Offered to Local Communities to Improve Green Spaces

Press Release from Department of Environment and Conservation; Jan. 19, 2012: 

Environment and Conservation Will Host Grant Workshops Feb. 13

 NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation is now accepting applications for Local Parks and Recreation Fund grants to help communities create and expand parks and recreation services. The department is contacting local communities about the grant availability, and will host a series of workshops throughout the state on Monday, Feb. 13 to help communities understand the application process. The application deadline is June 29, 2012.

“Gov. Haslam proposed and the General Assembly approved restoring the funds for this program to help local communities purchase lands for parks, natural areas, greenways and recreational facilities,” said Environment and Conservation Commissioner Bob Martineau. “These grants are specifically designed to help local communities improve their green spaces and we are pleased to provide this funding for the benefit of Tennessee’s citizens.”

Local Parks and Recreation Fund grants may also be used for trail development and capital projects in parks, natural areas and greenways. LPRF grants require a 50 percent match, with a maximum possible award of $250,000. By statute, at least 60 percent of the funds allocated for these grants will be awarded to municipal governments.

The department’s Division of Recreation Educational Services will host three workshops on Monday, Feb. 13, from 10 a.m. to noon (local times apply) at the following locations:

· Environment and Conservation’s Jackson Environmental Field Office, 1625 Hollywood Drive, Jackson, Tenn., 38305

· Environment and Conservation’s Downtown Nashville Central Office, 401 Church Street, L&C Tower, 17th Floor, Nashville, Tenn., 37243

· Environment and Conservation’s Knoxville Environmental Field Office, 3711 Middlebrook Pike, Knoxville, Tenn., 37921

Each county government and incorporated municipality is allowed to submit one grant application per cycle. Cities and counties may apply jointly for one project in addition to applying for one city or county project. Governments with open LPRF projects from a previous year are not eligible to reapply until the open project is completed. The workshop series is designed to help local government officials and parks and recreation departments understand the application process for the 2012 grant cycle (attendance by grant applicants is recommended but not mandatory).

Grant recipients are expected to be announced this summer. The application deadline for the 2011-2012 Local Parks and Recreation Fund grant cycle is June 29, 2012, at 4 p.m. (CST).

For more information about the upcoming application workshop or to register, contact Carol Thompson at (615) 532-0208 or at carol.h.thompson@tn.gov; or contact Recreation Educational Services at (615) 532-0748 or tdec.res@tn.gov. For more information about the application requirements for LPRF grants, or about other parks and recreation grants administered by the Department of Environment and Conservation, please visit the website at www.tn.gov/environment/recreation/grants.shtml.

 

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TDOT Issues Aeronautics Grants to 3 Airports

 Press Release from Tennessee Department of Transportation; Jan. 11, 2012:

$209,500 Provides for Infrastructure and Other Improvements

NASHVILLE- The Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) announced today that state aeronautics grants totaling $209,500 have been approved for 3 Tennessee airports.

Airports receiving grants include:

Elizabethton Municipal Airport
Gibson County Airport
Tri-Cities Regional Airport

For more details on each of these grants visit:
http://www.tdot.state.tn.us/news/2012/Aeronautics-Grant-Details1-11-12.pdf

The grants are made available through the Tennessee Department of Transportation’s Aeronautics Division.
The Division administers federal and state funding to assist in the location, design, construction and maintenance of Tennessee’s diverse public aviation system.

Except for routine expenditures, grant applications are reviewed by the Tennessee Aeronautics Commission (TAC), which is a five member board charged with policy planning and with regulating changes in the state Airport System Plan. The board carefully reviews all applications for grants to ensure that the proper state and local matching funds are in place and that the grants will be used for needed improvements.

The TDOT Aeronautics Division has the responsibility of inspecting and licensing the state’s 126 heliports and 75 public/general aviation airports. The Division also provides aircraft and related services for state government and staffing for the Tennessee Aeronautics Commission.

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11 TN Airports Split $3.2 Million in Aeronautics Grants

State of Tennessee Press Release; Dec. 30, 2010:

NASHVILLE—Governor Phil Bredesen announced today that federal aeronautics grants totaling $3,202,614 have been approved for eleven Tennessee airports.

Airports receiving grants include (click on each link for details):

Cleveland Municipal Airport (.pdf)

Gatlinburg-Pigeon Forge Airport (.pdf)

Greeneville-Greene County Airport (.pdf)

Mark Anton Municipal Airport (.pdf)

McGhee-Tyson Airport (.pdf)

Millington Regional Jetport (.pdf)

Nashville International Airport (.pdf)

Savannah-Hardin County Airport (.pdf)

Sumner County Regional Airport (.pdf)

Tullahoma Regional Airport (.pdf)

Whitehurst Field (.pdf)

For more on each of these grants visit the TDOT newsroom or click on the links above.

The grants are made available through the Tennessee Department of Transportation’s Aeronautics Division.

“This division administers federal and state funding to assist in the location, design, construction and maintenance of Tennessee’s diverse public aviation system,” reported TDOT Commissioner Gerald Nicely. “We are pleased to continue to support Tennessee’s general aviation and commercial airports.”

Except for routine expenditures, grant applications are reviewed by the Tennessee Aeronautics Commission (TAC), which is a five member board charged with policy planning and with regulating changes in the state Airport System Plan. The board carefully reviews all applications for grants to ensure that the proper state and local matching funds are in place and that the grants will be used for needed improvements.

The TDOT Aeronautics Division has the responsibility of inspecting and licensing the state’s 126 heliports and 75 public/general aviation airports. The Division also provides aircraft and related services for state government and staffing for the Tennessee Aeronautics Commission.

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TN Rail Projects Get $55.3 Million in Federal Recovery Grants

State of Tennessee Press Release, Feb 18, 2010

NASHVILLE – Tennessee will receive $55.3 million in federal Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) discretionary grants for two rail projects in the state. The US DOT announced $1.5 billion in federal TIGER grant funds for more than 50 projects across the U.S. on Wednesday, the one year anniversary of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which funds the competitive TIGER grants.

“The Recovery Act TIGER grants awarded to Tennessee will fund needed improvements to the freight rail network in our state,” said Governor Phil Bredesen. “These improvements will expand access to freight for businesses across the state, reduce the number of trucks on Tennessee highways by moving more freight by rail, and provide a cleaner, more environmentally friendly transportation option.”

Railroads are up to eight times more fuel efficient than trucks, according to a November 2009 study by the Federal Railroad Administration. In many cases, one train can haul as much freight as nearly 300 trucks, which means a single train can take around 300 trucks off the highway, creating more capacity for motorists.

Tennessee will receive half of a $105 million grant for the Crescent Corridor Rail Initiative. The $52.5 million in federal funds will be used to construct an intermodal transfer facility in Fayette County. The Crescent Corridor is a 2,500-mile rail route operated by Norfolk Southern Corporation that extends from New Jersey to Memphis and New Orleans. Tennessee is partnering with Pennsylvania, Virginia, Alabama, and Mississippi in the Crescent Corridor Freight Initiative. Construction of the new Fayette County facility includes pad and support tracks, trailer and container parking areas, lead tracks and related ancillary buildings and features. Currently, TDOT is conducting an Environmental Assessment (EA) of the proposed intermodal facility location. The department expects to hold a public meeting and review of the EA in summer 2010.

Tennessee will also share in a $17.5 million grant for the Appalachian Regional Short Line Rail Project. The state will receive $2.8 million to rehabilitate rail lines in Stewart and Montgomery Counties and to construct a new switching terminal near Memphis. The rail lines are owned and operated by R.J. Corman Railroad Group. Short lines are smaller freight railroads that provide local businesses with a link to the national network of Class I railroads, such as CSX or Norfolk Southern. These short lines help keep local businesses competitive in the global markets. Improvements include upgrades to rail, crossties, grade crossing, bridge and tunnel work.

“Rail is an important component to Tennessee’s transportation network,” said TDOT Commissioner Gerald Nicely. “It’s important to utilize all of our transportation options when it comes to the movement of freight. These rail improvements will eventually result in more long haul freight moving by train, and will have the additional benefit of relieving congestion on our crowded interstate highway system.”

To learn more about TDOT and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act visit www.tn.gov/tdot/recovery. For more information on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for the state of Tennessee, visit www.recovery.gov.

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Roughly $619,000 in Roadway Landscaping Grants Going to 12 TN Cities

State of Tennessee Press Release, Dec. 17, 2009:

Grants Awarded through TDOT’s Environmental Division

NASHVILLE — Governor Phil Bredesen announced $618,806 in Roadscapes Grants today that will be awarded to 12 Tennessee cities. The grants will be used to assist local communities with landscaping improvements to area roadways.

“These funds will help make improvements along the roadways that serve as the front door to our communities,” said Bredesen. “Well-planned landscaping programs create an inviting atmosphere that can boost local economies and improve the quality of life for citizens.”

The Tennessee Roadscapes initiative was developed in 2006 as a partnership between community organizations across the state and TDOT to create inviting spaces through an integrated approach to roadside landscaping. TDOT funds 80 percent of the cost of a project with the grant recipient contributing the remaining 20 percent. Grants are derived from federal funds that are specifically earmarked for roadway enhancement projects.

(View recipient cities.)

“The Roadscapes program creates an opportunity to showcase the roadways and natural beauty of our state,” said TDOT Commissioner Gerald Nicely. “It’s important to create welcoming places for people to live and work and to build a sense of pride in one’s community.”

The Tennessee Roadscapes program includes a variety of environmental stewardship and beautification programs:

  • Landscaping with naturalized flowers and native flowering trees
  • Memorials and parks
  • Roadside tree planting
  • Exotic and invasive plant removal
  • Litter cleanup and prevention education programs
  • Adopt-A-Highway and Adopt-A-Spot programs
  • Community landscaping at intersections, street corners, medians, entrances, and gateways

For more information about the Tennessee Roadscapes program, go here.