Metro Could Pump Stimulus Money into Transportation
NASHVILLE, Tenn.- Lawmakers are working through the weekend to come up with a workable economic stimulus plan.
Senators met Saturday in a rare session to hash out details on the plan. It's on track for a vote on Tuesday. This comes after the White House and Democrats reached a compromise with moderate Republicans to trim more than 100 billion dollars from the bill.
That cuts out some 40 billion dollars in aid that would have gone to state governments for some programs, including education. Right now, the cost stands at $827 billion.
Metro leaders are keeping a close eye on Congress as well. It's still not clear just how much could be coming to federal, state and local governments, but some could be in line for some big bucks.
Metro would likely see money pumped into schools, law enforcement, and transportation. As far as transportation some in the mayor's office are hoping for improvements that would convince some to get out of the car and walk or ride a bike to get from point "A" to point "B".
"This winter it's been pretty chilly. So I really haven't been out here. This is the first time this year," said Nashville resident, Keith Vogt.
When Keith Vogt's wheels are in motion he leaves his worries in the rearview mirror.
"Everything you know a lot of people are losing their jobs and stuff like that. It's cheap entertainment. Plus you're getting your exercise," said Keith Vogt.
But to Keith, biking is more than a recreation, but a mode of transportation.
"I bicycle to work every once in a while. And my friend he does to," said Vogt.
It's the mindset Metro Mayor Karl Dean wants to see catch on. Which is why the mayor has put together bicycle pedestrian advisory committee.
Metro's Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator, Toks Omishakin, says the group's focus is creating a long term plan. More sidewalks, bike lanes, and greenways may make walking and biking a more attractive mode of transportation.
"Increase people's access to them. And get people walking and biking more for from an environmental perspective and then a quality of life perspective also," said Toks Omishakin.
A new economic stimulus package just might put dollars towards the vision. During these tough economic times, some taxpayers say other issues need to be addressed.
"Public safety and education would probably be a good thing to look at as opposed to - you know this is important. But I put those two above it," said Nashville resident mark Simmons.
Regardless of how the dollars drop, Keith Vogt says Metro is moving in the right direction.
"It's a good idea because I think everybody likes to bicycle or walk nowadays," said Vogt.
When it comes to bicycle and pedestrian issues Metro officials have their work cut out for them.
Funding is one of the biggest challenges. Still the Mayor's office is optimistic about what the future holds.
The Metro Planning Organization is also asking for your ideas on bicycle and pedestrian issues.