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Federal stimulus may fund local roads

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So when Skipper put out a call for “shovel ready” projects, “it was easy to take advantage of the opportunity,” he said.

“What makes my job easier is people like Jeff (Baines), Magi (Tilton), Chuck (Boyett) and all the other department heads being ready to help,” he added. Jeff Baines is commissioner of Public Works, Magi Tilton is Lebanon planning director and Chuck Boyett is city engineer.

At this time the City of Lebanon has sent in requests for funds to complete seven potential highway projects, Baines said.

He said that two of the projects, the second section of Hartmann Drive and the intersection of Highway 70 with Hartmann Drive are currently “shovel ready.”

And he added that the other five, the intersection of State Road 26 with Maddox-Simpson Parkway, the Highway 109 connector to Beckwith Road, the intersection of State Road 24 with Castle Heights, the frontage road from Highway 231 to Highway 70 via Briskin Lane and the CoreTech access road off Hartmann Drive, could all be ready for construction to begin in three to six months.

Skipper said the MPO is looking for projects that are ready to go but that meet other criteria as well.

“As we pursue projects ready for construction as a way of stimulating job growth, we do want to give priority to those shovel ready projects that are consistent with regional multi-modal goals,” he said.

He also pointed out that a coalition of the American Public Works Association, the American Planning Association, the Association of MPOs, the National League of Cities and the U.S. Conference of Mayors has already sent a letter to the leaders of the U.S. House and Senate requesting the transportation funding be included in the stimulus package.

He said the MPO ranks projects by several other criteria, such as whether they provide opportunities for multi-modal transportation, including bicycling and walking. He said they also look for projects that will offer improved access to jobs and educational facilities.

Wilson County also submitted two projects, the completion of work on Highway 109 from Lebanon to Gallatin and possible operating funds for the Music City Star commuter rail.

The City of Mt Juliet added four more projects to the list. They include North Mt Juliet Road, the Eastern Bypass the Western Pedestrian and Bikeway and the Reverse L project which would widen Curd Road past the new Mt. Juliet High School.

Staff Writer Connie Esh may be contacted at cewrites@wilsonpost.com.

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