Taxpayers Opposed to Useless Roads


Stop The Fifth Interchange

at Mine Lick Creek Road

Cookeville, Tennessee



DEconstructing the Concocted Road Avrice Propaganda IN General

TRANSPORTATION POLICY


Last updated on 11 JUNE 2008

THE NEWS, OPINION AND COMMENTARY NOT AVAILABLE IN THE HERALD-CITIZEN


Welcome to the TOUR website. (Taxpayers Opposed to Useless Roads) This web site is for those people who want better government policy in road building. It is an exploration of the factors and frustrations surrounding the planning and management of transportation infrastructure in the state of Tennessee. Particular emphasis will be on the Proposed Mine Lick Creek Interchange but, there are many projects like this throughout Tennessee. If you pump gas, pass through the state or ride the bus, you are going to be effected by the policies and proceedures of the Tennessee Department of Transportation or TDOT. I believe that better transportation policy is achievable through the ethical treatment of all taxpayers and seek to provide the other side of the story that is not known either through ignorance, blind trust or strategic misrepresentation.

Danny L. Newton

1018 Rose Garden Lane 38501

931-432-5345


CONTACT TOUR EDITOR Alternate email address


Please remember Cathy McWright as she travels to Nashville and endures additional cancer treatment. Cathy and her husband Ricky have a house and property along Buffalo Vally road and are likely to be impacted by the construction of Alternative "A." She faces a difficult treatment that will require that she stay in the hospital for 100 days.




USELESS ROAD DETECTION KIT
FIFTH INTERCHANGE TIMELINE
HOUSE TRANSPORTATION COMMITTEE
SENATE TRANSPORTATION COMMITTEE
15 MAR TO 22 OCT ARCHIVE
23 OCT 07 TO 31 DEC 07 ARCHIVE
01JAN to 15 MARCH 08 ARCHIVE
09 MAR to 03 MAY 08 ARCHIVE
HADLEY BEND TOLL ROAD MEETING 22 APRIL 2008
ECONOMIST CRITICIZE McCAIN GAS TAX HOLIDAY
DOES AN 18-1 VOTE AGAINST KNOXVILLE TOLL STOP TDOT?
CLAY CAREY ON THE HADLEY BEND TOLL PROJECT
ENDING THE EARMARK ATM
WHAT HAPPENED THE LAST TIME WE HAD A WINDFALL PROFITS TAX
TENNESSEE MUST ELIMINATE STATE EMPLOYEES   2250 JOBS COULD BE ELIMINATED
AMERICAN SOCIETY OF CIVIL ENGINEERS STATE BY STATE INFRASTRUCTURE COMMENTS
NORTH CAROLINA PULLS OUT THE PLASTIC FOR ONE BILLION DOLLARS IN FUTURE ROAD MONEY
METRO NASHVILLE TRANSIT SYSTEM SUED BECAUSE OF FARE INCREASE
08 MARCH TRAVEL REPORT - NATIONAL VEHICLE MILES TRAVELED SINKS TO LEVELS RECORDED IN OCT 2005
IS I-69 REALLY LONGER THAN THE EXISTING I-40 I-65 ROUTE FOR NAFTA RELATED TRUCKING?
INTERSTATE TOLL ROAD IN SOUTH CAROLINA FAILS TO FINANCIALLY PERFORM AS PREDICTED BY THE SAME CONSULTANT USED ON TENNESSEE TOLL STUDIES
COMMISSIONER NICELY HINTS THAT OUR GOVERNOR WILL ASK FOR GAS TAX INCREASE NEXT YEAR
GEORGIA GOVERNOR STOPS GAS TAX INCREASE
CHINA BUILDING 42,000 MILES OF INTERSTATES INDIA BUILDING 25,000 MILES OF EXPRESSWAYS AND EUROPE ADDING 10,000 MILES TO THEIR SYSTEM TOO
GAS TAXES BY STATE
17:33 06/05/2008  UPDATE ON THE EMINENT DOMAIN ABUSE BY THE CITY OF COOKEVILLE AND PUTNAM COUNTY   NEW COURT DATE SET 20 JUNE 2008
SENATOR ALEXANDER ASKED TO PROVIDE EARMARK FOR SLIGO BRIDGE
WHY MRS LYNCH HAS TO WAIT UNTIL 20 JUNE FOR HER DAY IN COURT
APRIL 08 GAS TAX UP ALMOST 5% OVER APRIL 07 GAS TAX

How Risky Are Start-Up Toll Roads?

by Robert PooleLINK TO OTHER TRANSPORTATION EDITORIALS BY ROBERT POOLE



One factor that is not fully appreciated in the debates over the private sector’s role in developing new (“greenfield”) toll roads is risk transfer. In a well-structured long-term concession agreement, the toll road company takes on not only completion risks (cost to construct, keeping to the schedule) but also traffic and revenue risk. Thanks to a couple of recent procurements in Texas, both of them new urban toll roads in relatively affluent Dallas suburbs, the impression exists among many pundits, reporters, and public officials that a start-up toll road is a pot of gold. I was reminded of that when I read a relatively recent report on the state-of-the-practice in toll road traffic and revenue forecasting.

The report is another in the series of synthesis reports from the National Cooperative Highway Research Program of the Transportation Research Board. This one is titled, “Estimating Toll Road Demand and Revenue,” 2006, and you can download it from the TRB website (or just google “NCHRP Synthesis 364”). While much of it is fairly dry and technical, Tables 1 and 2 tell a striking story. Most U.S. start-up toll roads in the past 20 years have been financial duds.

The report’s Table 1 lists data comparing actual and forecast toll revenue for 26 such toll roads, for each of their first five years of operation. As an example, here are some figures for second-year results, for the 25 toll roads with Year 2 data. Only two of these 25 exceeded 100% of forecast revenue by the end of their second year. Another four exceeded 90%, one exceeded 80%, and another two exceeded 70%. Thus, only about one-third achieved better than 70% of projected revenues by the end of their second year. The average for all 25 start-up toll roads was just 62.8% of projected revenue.

That is pretty dismal, but it’s consistent with other recent studies, including ones discussed in NCHRP 364 that were carried out by bond rating agencies Standard & Poor’s and Fitch Ratings. A 2002 J. P. Morgan study parsed the data a different way, looking for patterns as to which types of toll road did better or worse at matching actual with forecast traffic and revenue in their first five years. The analysts grouped them into four categories, in order of best performance:

Toll roads in high-congestion suburban areas (e.g., Georgia 400 [GA] and George Bush Expressway [TX]);
Toll roads in outlying portions of metro areas (Veteran’s Parkway [FL] and Creek Turnpike [OK]);
Toll roads in developed corridors with many alternatives (Hardy [TX] and San Joaquin Hills [CA]);
Toll roads in least-developed areas (Pocahontas Parkway [SC] and Greenville Connector [SC]).
These groupings are based only on the first five years of operation, and some of these toll roads have done much better in later years. But some have not, and some of the worst performers have been rescued by toll road companies, under very long-term (75 to 99-year) concession deals.

The point I want to leave with you is that the pot-of-gold start-up toll road is the rare exception, not the general rule. In general, greenfield toll roads are high-risk propositions, especially in their early years. That is why the traditional municipal (tax-exempt) toll revenue bond market has been so conservative in how much it will finance, based on what is called an “investment-grade” traffic and revenue forecast. Experienced global toll road companies, global capital markets, and the new breed of infrastructure investment funds are willing to take on greater risk, in exchange for a longer-term deal and the possibility of double-digit returns. That prospect should be welcomed by those seeking to expand the funding available to build much-needed highway capacity.



EDITORIAL COMMENT ON THE SLIGO BRIDGE REPLACEMENT

by Danny L. Newton

02:29    06/09/2008



    In 2008, TDOT will spend $113 million, more than everything scheduled for Interstate maintenance, in earmarks on rural highway projects. TDOT plans to spend $56.6 million on state bridges and $38.2 million on local bridges in the state while spending on the nebulous category of Enhancements will be $106.7 million. Enhancement spending will be three times what will be spent on rural congestion mitigation. These enhancement projects are too numerous to mention but a few familiar definitions would be related to highway beautification, mitigating road kill, signs, benches, sidewalks recreational trails and bike trails. Enhancement spending might be viewed as the fruits of good stewardship if the normal and routine expenses of a transportation system were satisfied first. But, now comes the dilemma of the Sligo Bridge east of Smithville.

     Replacing this 60 year old structure that serves a daily average traffic of 5000 will cost $25 million dollars. It would cost a lot less if the entire bridge were shut down for a year to 18 months, maybe $5 million. This is a hard problem since the average bridge replacement or rehab has been running between $500,000 and $600,000. Should TDOT shut this bridge down and save $15 million dollars that could be used to fix possibly 30 other bridges? The burden of driving around this unusually long bridge is enormous and will cost the local traveler, tourist and local government a lot of money and time. This difficult calculation can be avoided by an earmark. Unfortunately, the earmarking process takes away from all categories of spending, sometime in the future, instead of taking away from only the least important categories.

      An earmark to fix common, routine and what should have been a scheduled replacement of the Sligo Bridge is a warning to travelers and the 19,000 people who live in Dekalb County that all is not well at TDOT.  Another warning is under the category of dangerous roads. Only $7.5 million dollars is scheduled for 2008 for high risk rural roads.  To qualify for this program, some kind of demonstration that the road is more dangerous than average must be presented.  Logically, half the roads in Tennessee should be qualified to get this money yet there is an extravagant qualification and training process required to get the data and the money.  Planned High Risk Roads expenditures in 2008 are roughly equivalent to the cost of half of a new Interstate rest stop and there are two new rest stops on the horizon in Tennessee in the next three years. This leads me to believe that not only financial responsibility but safety is taking a back seat at TDOT.  

     If Senator Alexander gets an earmark for the Sligo Bridge replacement, he will effectively remove any responsibility and accountability from TDOT for making the hard and ethical choices required to run a highway department.  Earmarking perpetuates bad transportation spending choices by willfully refusing to weed out the bad or low priority choices.  As inflation and gas prices eats away at TDOT's income, these choices will not get easier and will get more frequent.  If money is moved away from some future economic development project, bike trail, scenic easements or greenways project and diverted to the necessity of people going to work through DeKalb County, the normal person who must make such choices every day will both understand and approve.  I suspect that this situation will be a major talking point in the future that will prove to some that TDOT simply needs more gas tax money rather than needing a better system of spending what it has.



WHAT IS HOLDING UP THE EMINENT DOMAIN ABUSE CASE NOW

by Danny L. Newton

15:42    06/11/2008



     Apparently, the City and the County are delaying Mrs. Lynch's day in court because they have not bothered to get a Certificate of Public Purpose as required by the law. Ironically, the Certificate of Purpose demands deliberations should be taken before getting into the project. A copy of the law for business parks is furnished below.  I assume that the term "committee" now means the State Department of Economic and Community Development. You would think that all of these requirements would have been satisfied by the consultants that we already have paid for but it seems that this certification must come from the state Department of Economic and Community Development


        7-55-106. Elements necessary before issuance of certificate - Regulation by committee - Consequences of governing body's failure to follow requirements. -
        
        

                (a)  The committee shall investigate, find and determine upon application of any municipality for a certificate of public purpose and necessity, as to whether a certificate shall be issued to such municipality to engage in any of the enterprises deemed essential under declared public policy for the economic development and advancement of the municipality, and in considering and determining whether or not such certificate shall issue, the committee shall find and determine affirmatively that:
                
                     (1)  There are sufficient natural resources readily and economically available for the use and operation of the particular industrial building and enterprise for at least ten (10) years, but in no event less than the period of time for which any bonds may be issued for acquiring or constructing the industrial building;



Editor's Comments

     The City of Cookeville is borrowing $2.5 million from the county to be a partner in the Business Park. The loan terms are $500,000 down and annual payments of $200,000. It would look a little strange if the county was trying to get a business park inside the city without the approval of the city which controlls the zoning. It will take will take 15 years to pay off the loan. So far, I see no evidence that the City has paid anything, probably because the actual payments are contingent upon getting all of the property.



                
                
                     (2)  There is available a labor supply to furnish at least one and one-half (1½) workers for each operative job in the enterprise within an area of twenty-five (25) miles from the proposed location; and


Editor's Comment

     Since there is no industry waiting in the wings, this is impossible to determine.

     Using a recently advertised property on the north side of the Business Park and the state Department of Economic and Community Development web site, it can be determined that the number of unemployed within a 25 mile radius is 3520. This would set the upward limit of an industry or business in the business park at 2346. It takes the typical Japaneese auto manufacturer 18 hours to make a car. It would take 2346 people all day to make 1042.6 cars. This is about half of an auto manufacturing plant. If each person took up 100 square feet, the building would be 5.38 acres. That would be a building less than 500 feet by 500 feet. This mystical and yet-to-be-approved or revealed maufacturing facility would cover less than three five-acre lots and no industry could qualify for another Certificate of Public Need until there was either a major expansion of the population or a major depression or both within the 25-mile radius. If the population expanded 2% per year, it would take 35 years before building up another 2346 factory workers so the process could legally proceed again.

      This assumes that the Highlands Iniative has not shrunk that number by 1250 by now. It would only take about 5 acres to pack 2346 autos onto the property. Logically, this leaves a lot of spare property in the nominal 400 acre business park and proves that Mrs. Lynch's Land is not critical to whatever they plan to manufacture. This assumes that the plans do not cynically waste land on parks and other ammenities that would assure that Mrs. Lynch's property was artificially critical.



                
                
                     (3)  There are adequate property values and suitable financial conditions, so that the total bonded indebtedness of the municipality, solely for the purposes authorized by this chapter, shall not exceed ten percent (10%) of the total assessed valuation of all the property in the municipality ascertained by the last completed assessment at the time of the issuance of such bonds.


Editor's Translation

      The assessed value of all of the property in Putnam County in 2007 was $4,018,045,618. This means that, according to our legislature, we should be able to pay for an Industrial/Business Park worth about $401.8 million dollars before making the state the least bit nervous about issuing a Certificate of Public Purpose. This is about 2/3 of the projected cost of the New Convention Center in Nashville. Nashville does not have to comply with this kind of oversight because it is a city over 300,000 people. Nashville is already bumping up on the 10% limit which is really inspired by credit rating agencies such as Fitch, Moodys or Standard and Poor as a red flag warning of declining capacity to pledge and pay debt.

     If $401.8 million was borrowed at 5% interest for 40 years, the annual payment would be $23,427,82.08. The law is not exactly clear about how to treat the debt when it is not bonded. It only protects the taxpayer from dangerous levels of taxation when land is used to secure the debt. Other taxes are not addressed. The county already has about $92 million in bonded debt to operate the county. The county is building up a reserve in the Debt Service Fund that could be used for a war chest to build this Business Park without incurring debt. It is about $13 million dollars now and could fund the $11 million infrastructure costs estimates for the park.



                
                
                (b)  When the committee shall have determined the facts favorably, it is authorized and empowered, having due regard to the promotion of the public policy and the general welfare, to issue or refuse to issue a certificate of public purpose and necessity to the municipality to engage in providing the industrial building. If and when such certificate is issued, it shall authorize the particular municipality to do all of the things authorized under § 7-54-103, but the certificate shall expire in twelve (12) months from its date, unless within that time such industrial building and enterprise shall have been established, subject, however, to any delays necessitated by any litigation or acts of God, delaying the establishment of the enterprise. In no event shall the committee authorize any municipality actually to provide any such industrial building, unless the committee shall further find and determine that the industrial building and enterprise is well conceived, has a reasonable prospect of success, will provide proper economic development and employment, and will not become a burden upon the taxpayers of the municipality.


Editor's Translation

      Apparently the legislature does not think that any other form of taxation such as sales taxes, gas taxes or yard sale permits merits any attention whatsoever with respect to a burden on the taxpayer. This oversight is bad enough but the taxpayer is totally prevented from responding to the work product of this committee by casting votes to get rid of malfunctioning members.



                
                (c)  (1)  If and when the certificate is issued, the committee shall fix and determine in the certificate:
                
                
                           (A)  The extent and the amount to which the municipality may issue bonds or make expenditures for such industrial building;


Editor's Translation

     If you take the 401.8 million allowed and subtract the $92 million already bonded, I get $309.8 million dollars. At 5% interest and 40 years I get an annual payment of $18,064574,33. That would be a per capita annual payment of $269.47 for a population of 67,000. The per capita gas tax is about $300.00 right now so this would be similar to doubling the gas tax.



                
                
                           (B)  What property may be acquired for the industrial building;


Editor's Expanded Comments

     From 03 APRIL 08 to 09 June 08 the number of available industrial or commercial/Industrial sites in Putnam County on the state Economic and Community Development web site went from 17 to 36. Anybody who wants to put some kind of new industry in Cookeville will not lack in the area of land availability. The number of available sites in White County also went up from 2 to 6 and in Overton County the industrial/commercial site count went up from 2 to 5. Together with Putnam County, these three counties are partners in the Highlands Iniative.

     If all 36 available industrial/speculative properties suddenly divided all of the unemployment among themselves equally, the average new business could only employ, according to the legal guidelines in the Tennessee law 65 persons until and unless there is a lot more unemployment.



                
                
                           (C)  The terms upon which such acquisition may be had;
                
                
                           (D)  What expenditures may be made, in the construction of buildings, and of equipment with its installation; and
                
                
                           (E)  The method of lease, rental and operation of the industrial building by the municipality.
                
                
                     (2)  The committee shall further require as a condition of the certificate that any lessee of such industrial building agree to make payments in lieu of taxes to the municipality in amounts equivalent to the ad valorem property taxes that would have been levied on the industrial building were it owned by the lessee and subject to property taxation. The committee shall also require as a condition of the certificate the use of energy conserving design and construction that includes solar heating systems and solar hot water heaters to the maximum extent feasible economically.
                
                
                (d)  If the governing body of the municipality fails or refuses to follow the requirements made by the committee in the certificate, then the members of the governing body of the municipality voting for such failure or refusal shall be individually and personally liable, and liable on their official bonds for any loss that the municipality may sustain by reason of such failure or refusal to follow the requirements, and in addition may be compelled by injunction to comply with such requirements.
                
                
                (e)  The committee is hereby authorized and empowered to adopt and put into effect all reasonable rules and regulations that it may deem necessary to carry out the provisions of this chapter, not inconsistent with this chapter.
                
                

[Acts 1955, ch. 209, § 8; 1975, ch. 311, § 2; T.C.A., § 6-2906; Acts 1980, ch. 532, § 1.]

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A STRANGER CASE OF DR. JEYKALL AND MR HYDE

by Danny L. Newton

00:43 06/05/2008



     After dropping their suit against Mrs. Lynch a little over a month ago and negotiating to pay her expenses and damages, the City of Cookeville and Putnam County have reinstated their condemnation suit against Mrs. Lynch for the last 15 or so acres of the "business park." The City and the County have asked that the condemnation suit be combined with the partition suit that was filed by the Lynch attorneys. This sounds like no matter what piece of property that Mrs. Lynch finally ends up with, they want to condemn it! Now, after numerous government caused delays, they seem to be in a hurry to get the property.

     The gullible will probably jump to the conclusion that the Chamber of Commerce has some really hot leads and folks ready to move in since they seem to be suddenly playing hardball again. I have yet to see an industrial park fill up completely even if it was over 20 years old. No one has adequately explained why this industrial park is going to do better than any of the other existing industrial property already located near the three existing interchanges.

      The consultants who suggested all of this foolishness have already high tailed it out of town with our money and are spreading it around Atlanta right now to get some real economic development. Wow! The Highlands Iniative is spilling over into Georgia now! Out of guilt, they will probably send their federal stimulus checks back to Washington.

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PRELIMINARY REPORT ON THE RPO MEETING

29 MAY 2008

by Danny L. Newton



     The first thing I noticed about the RPO meeting was that the new ranking scheme was put into place that was suggested at the last RPO meeting. There were fifteen projects, six were ranked in an "A" list and 9 in a "B" list.  Projects were ranked roughly on the basis of their position within the "pipeline."  The list that was sent out in the e-mail this week from the RPO seemed to be future projects that will end up somewhere below the 15 that are currently ahead in the pipeline.

     There was some question of exactly how the ranking system permitted Lantana Road, number two on the "B", list to jump ahead of number five on the "B" list. There really was not a lot of time to question some of the apparent problems. Number three on the "A"   list was noted as having a problem with the environmental assessment and that was keeping the right of way process from starting.  Number four on the "B" list was the Fifth Interchange and according to that status notes already had an approved environmental assessment.  Logically and by the initial general consensus of the last meeting, those projects that were farthest along in the pipeline should be first. That consensus was apparently subverted by a suggestion by James Mills and The former RPO chairman that the old rankings be used since they were already agreed upon in the second previous meeting.

     There was a lot of grumbling about the hidden hand of TDOT and or politics behind these rankings. There was also frustration about what seemed to be random factors predominating in the way projects were sorted out within the pipeline. It was obvious that the problem with funding was a recurring theme in some of the difficulties. Number 6 on the "B" list seems to be in the engineering phase but has a problem with acid soils generated by Pyrite. This is just a matter of redesign and adding more money to the project but even though it was more ready than two others on the "A" list, it still resides in the "B" list below the Fifth Interchange.

     There were a few hints that some projects might be able to move upward with a different pile of money if accurate accident reports could support that fact that the accident rate was more dangerous than the average road.  Some kind of training would be available for elected officials and road superintendents to take advantage of this program. Another hint was to use past experience to try and only submit projects that are most likely to have a good study result and a chance to get through the approval purpose. A great deal of disgruntlement was expressed over the two year hiatus in construction in the Center Hill RPO. This planning and prioritizing seemed to be a waste of time to at least a couple of people.

     James Mills, acting for Richard Rinks, had an interesting comment about the funding problems not being TDOT's fault. This comment came after a contentious exchange about the RPO process that seemed to be saying that going through the motions would assure the viability of the project and would prevent other RPO's and MPO's from getting the funds. This is a rip off of the Chamber of Commerce mentality that declares the necessity of monkey-see-monkey do projects. Members of the RPO were encouraged to bring more new information to enhance the desirability of a project. This process is somewhat like justifying need by anecdote rather than hard objective data. This of course would only enhance the unpredictability of the sorting process within the pipeline and assure more project selection based on subjective channeling of the Economic Development Bunny.

    A possible future project called the Sparta Bypass was mentioned as being under study.  There were no Multi-modal reports.  TDOT is not able to fill a position involving bicycle paths. The duties are assumed by another employee but they are not able to fill the position because of the hiring freeze.

    There was a presentation about the Sligo Bridge by Mr.Wayne Seger, head of TDOT’s Office of Bridge Inspection and Repair, who discussed options on its replacement. The bridge design is about 75% complete and about $25 million dollars.  The pavement overlay is good but the pavement under it is spalling off.  This explains why there are nets under it. The bridge is functionally obsolete but in fairly good condition. The bridge is very narrow and all things considered, it could be better to replace the bridge because of the danger in trying to phase construct it with one lane at a time available. The bridge deck could not take the weight of the concrete barriers, especially for barriers set near the outside edges of the bridge. MORE REMARKS ON BRIDGE INSPECTION BY WAYNE SEGER

     The first idea was to close the bridge but that was a difficult burden on those having to go around. The round trip would be over 100 miles. Legally, this is too long to have children on a school bus. To prevent this, federal earmarked money was made available. The new bridge is wider with wide shoulders. The old bridge will be demolished.  A condition of using the federal money within the bridge replacement program was that the old bridge be demolished. The traffic count is about 5000 per day.Sparta Expositor News about the Sligo Bridge

      This begs the question why TDOT has to get an earmark to take care of its bridges. Earmarked money comes from the Tennessee share of federal funds that Tennessee would have gotten anyway. There are no federal general revenue funds in transportation spending except in transit funds.

     There was a presentation on the subject of the 25 and the ten year transportation plan and the corridor from Memphis to Bristol. The report on the I-40 & I-81 upgrade will be coming out shortly on the TDOT web site and Mr. Comer of TDOT invited comment on the study.  The cost was about $7 to $8 Billion dollars.  The power point presentation that was given in Cookeville will also be on the web site soon.  The state will take the lead deciding when and where segments of this upgrade are going to be performed. A direct question was asked to determine if the RPO had to submit through the RPO process a project to upgrade the Interstate and it was answered in typical TDOT fashion. The answer was no the first time it was asked and the second time it was asked, the state was portrayed as acting in concert with the wishes of the RPO.  I think they were asking the MPO or RPO to give political cover for projects along the Interstate in case people were opposed to the construction of the additional lanes.

     One of the reasons this I-40/I-81 Upgrade is connected to the Fifth Interchange is the cost of replacing the bridges. Assuming that a Fifth Interchange is built, it would be ridiculous to build the new bridges and then have them destroyed in an upgrade. One of the original 2000 Environmental assessments showed only one extra pair of bridges being built and using the second existing pair but the existing bridges are about five feet too narrow for a real four lane divided highway.  It is unlikely that the two existing bridges could survive an Interstate upgrade from four to six lanes.  With or without the Fifth Interchange, the existing pair of bridges, one over the west bound lane and one over the east bound lane is doomed because of the upgrade plans. The Fifth Interchange should be worked into the Upgrade Plan, but according to Ed Cole at the last meeting in Cookeville, there is no plan to consider what should happen to the Fifth Interchange when I-40 is upgraded.

     The final presentation of the day was on Cumberland Sustainable Transportation which is essentially a high tech bus and public transit service. The premise of the presentation was that there was a peak oil crisis coming sometime in the future and that this bus system should be set into place as well as measures to increase the density of the population in order to avoid the shrinkage of oil supplies. It was a meld of technologies and existing programs other places in the country and Europe.  It was proposed that there would be an adequate level of volunteer drivers to supplement the paid drivers. Some of the funding sources would be through Medicare. There was a slide program of the infrastructure required including vehicles and shelters. Other forces that make this feasible is the aging population with impaired driving skills.

     Based upon the approximate population of the RPO being 223,941 people and each person generating $300 for TDOT in state and federal gas taxes, it can be inferred that the Centerhill RPO is sending TDOT $67.2 million dollars per year in gas taxes. For two years they got nothing and if they got all of their "A" list completed within five years, they would get about 30.1 miles of road. That works out to $15.6 million dollars per mile. If TDOT were a hospital, this would be the equivalent to a $15 asprin given at the hospital. Another work sheet was handed out and it had traffic counts on it on future roads within the 25 year plan. The traffic counts were from 3,440 to 17,000 Average Annual Daily Traffic. Most were under 7000 per day.

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Below are rankings sent in an e-mail from Randy Williams



CENTER HILL RPO TECHNICAL COMMITTEE STUDY PRIORITY RANKING RESULTS  REVISED  13:56 06/03/2008
RANK STUDY# ROUTE TERMINI MILES
1 6008008 SR136 SR 111 to I-40, Cookeville 2.29
2 6008013 SR 298 From I-40, Cumberland County to Cook/Crabtree Road,Crossville 0.21
3(t) 6008001 SR 26(US 70/ SR 1) SR 56, Smithville to SR 24 (US 70) Crossville 45.09
3(t) 6008005 SR 24 (US 70 N) SR 56, Baxter, to I-40, Cookeville 11
5 6008007 SR 111 Intersection SR 111 and Lamont/Sparta Street, Spencer 0.01




Below are rankings on handouts at the RPO meeting.



PROJECTS FOR RECOMENDATIONS TO THE 3 YEAR WORK PROGRAM

READY FOR FUNDING TO THE NEXT LEVEL

"A" LIST

COUNTY PIN # ROUTE TERMINI MILES PRIORITY STATUS
Warren 101652.04 SR-1 Centertown to Spring Valley 5.6

4.6 STIP

1 Proposed for funding for construction FY 2005
DeKalb Wilson 10021.00 SR-26 West of Wilson County. line to SR-96 6.2 2 Right-of-way essentially complete. Needs construction funding
Cannon / Warren 101652.01 SR-1 near SR-281 to Centertown 6.9 3 An environmental re-evaluation is currently underway and should be completed soon. Completion of this precludes approval of right-of-way funding, which is available
DeKalb 100263.00 SR-56 north of SR 288 to Bryant Street in Smithville 4.9

7.5 STIP

4 Right-of-way acquisition is underway. Will be a candidate for construction funding in future budgets
Cumberland 101044.00 SR-28 SR-68 to Cleveland Street, Crossville 3.6

4.6 STIP

5 Project in FY 2009-2011 Transportation Improvement Program(TIP) for Construction funding in 2011
DeKalb 100262.00 SR-56 Warren Co. Line to north of SR-288 2.9 6 Proposed for Right of Way Funding in FY 2009


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not ready for funding to the next level    "B" LIST
COUNTY PIN # ROUTE TERMINI MILES PRIORITY STATUS
Van Buren 103777.00 SR-111 Interchange at SR-284 0.1 1 NEPA EA/FONSI to be reviewed by the FHWA in June. Date will then be set for NEPA Public Hearing in Spencer. Not in FY 2009-2011 Transportation Imprivement Plan/ (TIP)
Cumberland 100268.00 SR-101 Firetower Rd. to east of Winchester Dr. Fairfiels Glade (Pevine Road) 5.3

5.4 STIP

2 Project not listed in FY 2009-2011 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP)
White 101041.00 SR-111 INTERCHANGE @ SR-135 0.1 3 Proposed for Construction funding FY 2010
Putnam 101577.00 I-40 Interchange @ Mine Lick Creek Road 0.1 4 FHWA has approved Environmental Assessment. Project is funded for preliminary engineering.
Cumberland 100270.00 SR-101 SR-282 to SR 392 (Lantana Rd) 3.3

2.8 STIP

5 Project in Fy2009-2011 TIP for Construction Funding in 2009
Van Buren 100257.00 SR-111 South of SR-30 to South of SR-285 5.1

5.2 STIP

6 Still to be turned in in late 2008 0r early 2009 for construction in early to min 2009. Pyrite Issues may halt construction; seeking options for pyrite mitigation
Van Buren / Sequatchie 101038.00 SR111 South of SR-8 to south of SR 284 7.3 7 Waiting for SR 284 @ SR111 new interchange project to catch up; will be combined into one project. Not in the current proposed three year program
Cumberland / Fentress 10260.03 SR-28 North of I-40 to Lickford Creek 7.6 8 Funded for preliminary Engineering; Draft Environmental Impact Statement(EIS) approved by TDOT and FHWA ;alignment selected in April 2008; Finalize EIS underway; survey to start 01 June
Cumberland 10260.01 SR-28 North of I-40 to Lickford Creek 7.6 9 Survey work to begin in 08 as part of Design Phase, US 127N.


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ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ON THE "A" LIST



PROJECTS FOR RECOMENDATIONS TO THE 3 YEAR WORK PROGRAM

READY FOR FUNDING TO THE NEXT LEVEL - "A" LIST

EST.COST PIN # STIP# TERMINI MILES PRIORITY STATUS
$47,170,640 101652.04 #89012 Centertown to Spring Valley 5.6 1 Proposed for funding for construction FY 2005
$????????? 10021.00 #????? West of Wilson County. line to SR-96 6.2 2 Right-of-way essentially complete. Needs construction funding
$47,800,000 101652.01 #08015 near SR-281 to Centertown 6.9 3 An environmental re-evaluation is currently underway and should be completed soon. Completion of this precludes approval of right-of-way funding, which is available
$26,603,000 100263.00 #21030 north of SR 288 to Bryant Street in Smithville 4.9 4 Right-of-way acquisition is underway. Will be a candidate for construction funding in future budgets
$24,900,000 101044.00 #18005 SR-68 to Cleveland Street, Crossville 3.6 5 Project in FY 2009-2011 Transportation Improvement Program(TIP) for Construction funding in 2011
$19,061,600 100262.00 #21028 Warren Co. Line to north of SR-288 2.9 6 Proposed for Right of Way Funding in FY 2009


not ready for funding to the next level "B" LIST
COST PIN # STIP# TERMINI MILES PRIORITY STATUS
$13,540,000 103777.00 #88010 Interchange at SR-284 0.1 1 NEPA EA/FONSI to be reviewed by the FHWA in June. Date will then be set for NEPA Public Hearing in Spencer. Not in FY 2009-2011 Transportation Imprivement Plan/ (TIP)
$47,967,600 100268.00 #18020 Firetower Rd. to east of Winchester Dr. Fairfield Glade (Pevine Road) 5.3 2 Project not listed in FY 2009-2011 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP)
White 101041.00 SR-111 INTERCHANGE @ SR-135 0.1 3 Proposed for Construction funding FY 2010
$10,950,920.00 101577.00 #71015 Interchange @ Mine Lick Creek Road 0.1 4 FHWA has approved Environmental Assessment. Project is funded for preliminary engineering.
$18,612,000 100270.00 #18015 SR-282 to SR 392 (Lantana Rd) 3.3 5 Project in Fy2009-2011 TIP for Construction Funding in 2009
$20,610,000 100257.00 #71015 South of SR-30 to South of SR-285 5.1 6 Still to be turned in in late 2008 0r early 2009 for construction in early to min 2009. Pyrite Issues may halt construction; seeking options for pyrite mitigation
$26,744,000 101038.00 #77020 South of SR-8 to south of SR 284 7.3 7 Waiting for SR 284 @ SR111 new interchange project to catch up; will be combined into one project. Not in the current proposed three year program
$36,900,000 10260.03 #18008 North of I-40 to Lickford Creek 7.6 8 Funded for preliminary Engineering; Draft Environmental Impact Statement(EIS) approved by TDOT and FHWA ;alignment selected in April 2008; Finalize EIS underway; survey to start 01 June
$53,000,000 10260.01 #18007 North of I-40 to Lickford Creek 7.6 9 Survey work to begin in 08 as part of Design Phase, US 127N.


HAS THE FEDERAL HIGHWAY ADMINISTRATION ABANDONED THEIR RESPONSIBILITY ON THE FIFTH INTERCHANGE?

by Danny L. Newton



      Even though TDOT spokesperson, Ms. Jennifer Osborne-Flynn, has been quoted in the local paper as declaring on 17 MAR 08 that there is no connection between the Fifth Interchange and the Northern Connector, TDOT published in the classified section, on 09 MARCH 08, and in the same paper, a Finding of No Significant Impact or FONSI that shows that this perception of reality does not exist at the Federal Highway Administration. According to the Environmental Assessment that was dated 14 DEC 2006, the Interchange is connected to a four lane road with controlled access and a 70 MPH design speed. The FONSI that was dated 18 APRIL 08 also mentions the four-lane controlled access road on page 16 but on page one, it is described as a road that will be built in stages. It will start out as a two lane road and then grow to a four lane road on a 250 foot wide right-of way that will be purchased on a design consistent with a four lane controlled access road. The road selected was alternative "A".

     This begs the question of exactly what TDOT is going to do with the $10 million dollars in the existing Interchange project. If they are lucky, it might be enough to build a low volume diamond interchange as long as there is not a lot of rock to blast. The RPO has a new chairman now and it would be an interesting exercise to see if there is enough history to review the question of exactly what was suppose to happen in the case of the Fifth Interchange. Public support for the project was swayed to positive only by the interchange only vote which, technically, was not responsive to the three choices.

     If the FHWA will not allow the Interchange to be built with out a connecting road then TDOT will need to come up with some more money to get the Fifth Interchange started. Two bridges will be required, one to lift Buffalo Valley traffic over the Northern Connector and another to lift the Northern Connector over the railroad. It is not certain about when the limited access fences will be added. Probably, the limited access provisions will come much later in a way similar to the way Interstate access is provided to Gainsboro at SR56. Eliminating these bridges will lower the cost into the range of the original estimate. The existing pair of bridges over Interstate 40 is not wide enough for a four lane design so this also saves building new bridges over the Interstate. This is a signal that the road design speed will be upgraded later.

     TDOT is a lot better at buying land than building roads on it. The four lane right-of-way between the Interstate at Baxter and Gainsboro is part of the long promised County Seat Connector Program that was passed in 1986 and funded with a gas tax increase in 1987. TDOT recently asked for permission to bond $139 million dollars to build part of the missing 18 miles in SR 840 and then after the $468 million dollar spending crisis that was announced on 07 MAY 08, withdrew the request for issuing those bonds.

     Even with the connecting road, as a two lane or four lane, the published standards for breaking into an Interstate are rather strict and this project does not meet any of the other criteria either.FHWA CRITERIA Just because you spent $5 million dollars on an industrial park and are planning on spending another $11 million dollars on infrastructure is not among the reasons for breaking into the Interstate with an Interchange. Having an actual industry ready and willing to move would help, but is not on the list either. Approving this Interchange is a little like loaning money with a lottery ticket as security.

     According to the traffic counts that are on the new Environmental Assessment the traffic is expected to be in the range of 3800 to 4500 in 2010 and grow to 5600 to 6400 in 2030. The traffic now crossing the Interstate is not likely to exceed 1000 cars a day. If the lowest estimates of 2010 traffic and 2030 traffic are annualized into a growth rate, it would be 1.957% per year which is about the same as the population growth for the county. This would be a growth rate that would cause traffic to double in 35.75 years. If the county population growth rate were to be taken as typical for between 2000 and 2006, the 9.6% growth rate over 6 years would cause the population to double in 45.37 years. This is a normal deviation from the growth of background population increases. It suggests that a lot of the new traffic will be attracted off of the Interstate.

      The $34 million road and the $10 million dollar interchange still pose an economic problem when you consider that TDOT is only getting about 2 cents per vehicle mile. Over a thirty year period, this road and interchange, even if the traffic increases every year at a geometric proportion will only make $3,3532142.95 in nominal, non-inflation adjusted dollars with a base year of 2010. If you take the income versus the cost, this leaves a loss of $40.6 million dollars over 30 years and that does not include maintenance or the first or second repaving that will be required by the end of thirty years. This loss is not discounted to take into consideration the time value of money.

     Even though the FHWA has no responsibility to protect the state from financial folly, the plain language of the existing law would be demanding that the FHWA deny this application for an interchange with or without the connecting road. This interchange fixes no transportation problem that can not be fixed by building the Gould Drive Extension into their 400 acre Business Park. Even though the un-elected and incompetent Chamber of Commerce considers that option substandard, it would cost a lot less than the $44 million dollar extravagance that is currently on the FONSI and Environmental Assessment.

      If this project is really $44 million dollars instead of $10 million dollars, someone needs to make sure that getting this project will in no way delay other more pressing local infrastructure needs. TDOT has a proposed project to upgrade Jefferson which has more than 10,000 vehicles per day on it. This is a much more important project and produces a greater and more certain benefit to more people than the Fifth Interchange. It is not even on the Rural Planning Organization list of possible projects. The County Commission already has suggestions that the new Industrial Park be used for the new prison. At least one County Commission member has come to that conclusion before the public request to use this business park, at least partially, as a prison site.

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Ann Johnson

Special to the Herald-Citizen

Monday, Mar 17, 2008

QUESTION: What can be done to get the "Northern Loop Project" State Route 451 going again? Traffic in and around Cookeville is much worse now than it was in 2003, and seems to be getting worse daily. At some point a northern loop and fifth interchange will need to be built.

ANSWER: The controversial State Route-451 was officially canceled in October 2003, as a result of a detailed University of Tennessee Center for Transportation Research review of 15 proposed Tennessee Department of Transportation projects across the state, according to Jennifer Osborne-Flynn, regional community relations officer with TDOT. The project would have included a limited access, four-lane, divided highway in an area that connected State Route 111 and State Route 56 north of Cookeville in Putnam and Jackson Counties. A number of issues contributed to the decision to cancel the project, including the economic and environmental impact of that planned project.

Osborne-Flynn said there are no plans to revive the project. Any request for new projects in Putnam County has to come through the Center Hill Rural Planning Organization (RPO). This organization is administered through the Upper Cumberland Development District in Cookeville. The northern connector was not identified as a priority for study during the last round of RPO technical meetings, However, the RPO will meet April 1 to discuss and request input for new studies. That would probably be the best opportunity to initiate any new activities.

A non-related TDOT project that is in the very early stages of development for the Putnam County area is the construction of a new interchange on I-40 at Mine Lick Creek Road, said Osborne-Flynn. It is currently in the preliminary engineering stage and has not been funded for the next phase of development, which is right-of-way. The right-of-way phase includes appraising and acquiring all property necessary to construct the project. Funding of the right-of-way phase for the Mine Lick Creek Road interchange is on the RPO's priority list for Fiscal Year 2010/2011.


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WHAT DOES THE HADLEY BEND TOLL ROAD HAVE TO DO WITH THE FIFTH INTERCHANGE?

by Danny L. Newton



      I went to the Hadley Bend Toll Road Public Meeting on 22 April to see what people were thinking in the urban areas about toll roads. My guess was that there were about 60 people there, though the crowd seemed to grow even after the meeting was started. A lot of the people there were legislators like Representative Diane Black and Mike Turner. There were county commissioners and other politicians there too. They mostly stood back and listened. Representative Turner even decided not to respond when Representative Black suggested that he had changed his mind on the toll road project.

      I have spent so much time griping about TDOT and how they do business that it seemed only right that I try to praise them when they do something right. TDOT has gotten one of the best consultants in the world to advise them on this project but it seems that not all of that advice is filtering down to the legislature. Their consultant has a proven track record of providing reasonable estimates but I seriously doubt that the consultant suggested that the tolls be collected manually, even one toll booth at each exit, since the technology is bringing that cost down rapidly.

      I also suspect that the consultant decided to present the revenue forecasting with two scenarios in order to try and make an impression on the client how important it is to finance the project with a gross pledge rather than a net pledge. A gross pledge is essentially the same thing as financing with general obligation bonds. A net pledge is similar to financing with revenue bonds. The state will probably try to finance this project with revenue bonds and pretend that if it goes belly up, the state has no obligation to the investor but will step in to make sure that the road and bridge are taken care of. These bonds are more difficult to sell because of the risk and the interest rates are higher. The legislature recently approved of a general obligation bond for the completion of SR 840S that had an interest rate of 6% for 20 years. Revenue bonds would be much higher than 6%.

      This toll project is very unpopular with the people at this meeting. With a two county population of close to 723,000, it seems that more people would show up. On a pro-rated basis, Putnam County had more people show up to the I-81/I-40 Upgrade and Fifth Interchange Meetings. Davidson County got more politicians per county to the meeting than Putnam County usually does. According to estimates from the consultant, one might expect one out of 38 people in the two-county area to use this road every day. Now that the Fifth Interchange is not a part of Corridor J, the daily traffic is hard to calculate. I did some partial counts of traffic going across the existing Bennett Road bridges and agree that the daily count is about 1000 per day with morning and afternoon peaks of about one vehicle per minute.

      TDOT's representative at the Meeting was Ed Cole, Chief of Environment and Planning. He spent a lot of time trying to remind people that this project was not going to be built any time soon in spite of the financial planning horizon that showed that it would be built by 2013. He reminded people that the legislature would have to approve anything they did and that the road and bridge would not get special consideration in the usual environmental considerations. The legislature has tasked TDOT to give them a report on this by the first of next year but Mr. Cole believes that this meeting and the one scheduled later in the week at the other end of the proposed bridge would accelerate and fine tune their report so that the legislature can be ready to render a decision sooner than next year.

      This whole process, decorated with a court reporter, open time for anyone to comment by snail mail and an openness to those who have computers to respond electronically to the meeting directly with TDOT seems like a very fair and democratic process. The only fly in the ointment is the sampling of public opinion. Many of the people who go to these meetings are policy wonks like members of the MPO and environmental activists. Even I am not a representative citizen because I have a background in transportation and engineering that prevents my views from being average. NIMBYS are thick in these crowds and having more than one potential project alignment only enhances their numbers.

      Should TDOT use the same process to gauge support for the Fifth Interchange as it does to decide support for the Hadley Bend Toll Project? There was only one person out of sixty at this meeting who announced that they were for this bridge. If you take the population of Davidson and Sumner County as 723,611 people and figure about 18% of them are too young to have a driver's license, then the most that could be interested in this bridge and road would be 593,361. If the $8.449 million in tolling income for the best scenario for the first year is divided by the average toll of $1.50, then there should have been 15,421 motorists per day willing to pay the toll. Maybe all of the people who could benefit from this project were still stuck in traffic or could not make the 5:00 PM meeting? Should the NIMBYS at this meeting stand aside and give up their property so that 15,421 people per day can get to the shopping center or the airport a little quicker?

      This is a completely different situation than the Fifth Interchange. The public benefit, if measured per motorist, is much smaller in Putnam County even if the connecting road to the Fifth Interchange is built. Several in the Hadley Bend crowd challenged TDOT to show a good reason for this road and bridge. Others confidently panned the consultant estimates of diverted and attracted traffic. Ed Cole did not try and respond to the question of benefit. Another unusual circumstance was that a person identifying himself as being affiliated with the local chamber of commerce was totally against the project because the project's perceived impact on the history of the area. Another thing that was unexpected was that I called for a show of hands for the people in the room that just did not like this project because it was a toll road. Even though three people had previously spoken against the double taxation, no one seemed to be against the road just because people would be paying for it by tolling. The problem seemed to be environmental and due to location.

      Mr. Cole admitted early in the presentation that the project would require some public money, perhaps 30%, over the lifetime of the project to get started because of the zero income during the construction and the slow build up of tolling traffic in the first three years. This only lead to a suggestion that they start tolling over in Knox County first since the Knox County I-475 project would be more likely to support itself throughout the service life of the project according to the consultant.

      More than one person thought that the solution was somehow connected to trains. Another person also thought that the train solution would be quieter. This route would be carrying over 12 times the daily traffic of the Nashville Star between Lebanon and downtown Nashville. The estimated width of the bridge and road was 300 feet. Even though a train would have a smaller theoretical foot print, the parking provided for the Nashville Star was about 1000 free spaces. Pro-rated, it would take 12 times that plus stations. The Nashville Star Cost $38 million to get it started and most of that, $22 million, was to upgrade the existing tracks. The Nashville Star travels averages 35 miles per hour even though it is legally able to go 60 MPH. You can always count on train oriented people going to a TDOT meeting. The proposed toll bridge over the Mississippi River in Memphis incorporates a train track.

      Once the same people began to rise again and again to add other negative comments, Mr. Cole tried to wrap up a meeting that was already beyond the two hour limit. One gentleman got up and tried to propose a third alternative. The map was poorly located for me to see exactly what was going on and I knew this was going nowhere since the legislature strictly forbids TDOT from looking at other toll projects.

      TDOT has entered this project more financially aware of the consequences than any project I can think of. Even if it is a bad project and never gets built, anybody planning to spend $255 million dollars and tring to recover that over 40 years would be crazy to spend that kind of money without some kind of consultation with accountants. None the less, TDOT has been doing that for decades, not with millions of dollars but billions of dollars every year.

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TENNESSEE NEEDS TO REDUCE EMPLOYEES BY 2,250

by Danny L. Newton



      Dave Goetz, the Commissioner of Finance and Administration, the governor and the commissioners of many state departments will be reporting to the press and public some of the more difficult details of exactly how the state will handle a revenue shortfall of $468 million dollars late Monday, 12 May, 2008. Normally when a state needs funds, it looks to the local and county governments for assistance. This is not going to happen according to information passed on to members of the House on May 7, 2008. Even though the state sees a rainy day coming, the Rainy Day fund, almost $750 million dollars, is only big enough for a drizzle, not a real rainy day.

      Representative Mike Turner was fully in favor of using that fund to cover the shortage but was told by Commissioner Dave Goetz that using non-recurring Rainy Day Fund money to pay recurring salaries would endanger the credit rating of the state. Representative Turner also spoke with regret concerning the fact that this bad news had come so late in the budget process. Later in a discussion with other representatives, it was estimated that if state analyst were correct the real shortage over more than one budget cycle could be $800 million. The planned reduction in state employees was about 2,250. In the first year, this would only represent a reduction of $60 million compared to a total target of $468 million.

      Federal reductions in funds were also a major factor in concluding that the drought in state funds would be long term and not comparable to the past shortfalls that lasted less than half a year. Medicare reforms by the federal government are hitting every state. Also cited was the housing bubble and the price of fuel were cited as an on-going concern as disposable income, especially disposable income that would be rung up as taxable.

      One of the more interesting proposals was from Representative Hardaway from Memphis. He actually proposed that the legislature get its own budget analyst and counterattack the recession with its own stimulus package. Commissioner Goetz discouraged such things based upon Keynesian logic and theories that held that economic stimulus comes from government deficit spending. The state, according to Commissioner Goetz, could only borrow for things, not wages.

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FIFTH INTERCHANGE TIMELINE



30 SEPT 1988    Herald-Citizen Reports that Vice Mayor Grogan expects Fifth Interchange by the year 2000. Estimate for the interchange is $1 million. The estimated cost of extending Gould drive to the industrial park is $500 thousand.

03 DEC 1998    Cookeville City Council asks TDOT to perform a feasibility study on constructing fifth interchange on I-40 at Mine Lick Creek Road. SPONSOR-JIM SHIPLEY

01 APRIL 1999    The Cookeville City Council asks TDOT to study the Maple Avenue flyover at I-40 as the new Fifth Interchange.

25 OCT 2000     TDOT dates the Interschange Justification Study for Federal Highway Administration Review as part of Corridor J intersection at Mine Lick Creek Road.

20 MAY 2002    Cookeville proposes to move the city limits to the vicinity to surround the Fifth Interchange

21 JUNE 2002    TDOT Advance planning report on the Northern Connector

15 JULY 2003    Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury releases report to the legislature with reccommendations for objective system of project selection.

AUG 2003     Final Report of Independant Investigation Sanctioned by TDOT. Studies selection process of 15 problematic road projects in Tennessee, Mine Lick Creek Road is one of them.

24 FEB 2003     City of Cookeville approves alternate "A" as Phase I Councilman Sam Sallee asks that The Northern Connector be Considered as Phase II.

22 SEPT 2005     Herald-Citizen reports Highlands Initiative Kickoff with $2million.

OCT 2005     State Transportation Improvement Plan Shows Project #71005 "Construct New Interchange at Mine Lick Creek Road" ROW acquisition marked for 2006 and construction marked for 2008. See Adobe Page 41/99. Estimated Cost is $10.3 million.

DECEMBER 2005    TDOT Provides explaination of the Project Evaluation System

23 MAR 2003    TDOT report reccommends using SR 111, not Mine Lick Creek Road for Corridor J intersection with I-40.

24 MAY 2006    Tennessee Legislature removes protection from land owners when government acts to build roads or build industrial parks. Bill allows transfer of property to private concerns. Charlotte Burkes listed as a sponser.

14 DEC 2006    TDOT Signs the Environmental Assessment FHWA concures later on 18 APRIL 2008. The connecting road is to have a design speed of 70 MPH and 250 foot wide controlled access right-of-way.

05 JUNE 2006    Tennessee Governor signs bill limiting the ability of the state, county and city to condemn property. PDF FILE HERE

16 JAN 2007    County Commission votes to listen to Mrs Lynch's side of the story and votes down condemnation request.

05 FEB 2007     Center Hill Regional Planning Meeting votes on transportation projects

06 MARCH 2007     TDOT Holds a public Meeting on the Fifth Interchange

01 NOV 2007     Condemnation of Pyle Property on the City Council Agenda. The vote was unanimous.


12 NOV 2007   The County Planning Commission in a voice vote decides to condemn the Pyle Property.


13 NOV 2007    The Cookeville Chamber of Commerce Refused Tour Editor Access to Engineering Report on the Highland Business Park.


14 NOV 2007     The Chamber of Commerce called a little after 5 PM to advise the Tour Editor that they had prepared a copy of the report that is being used to justify the condemdation of the Pyle Property and that it would be available at the front desk.

12 FEB 2008    The Sherrif Served Mrs. Lynch a summons this morning to initiate the condemnation process on her land.

17 MAR 2008   The City and the County ammend their condemnation suit. This will push back the court date into April 2008.

17 MAR 2008   The Herald-Citizen quotes TDOT spokesperson Jenifer Osborne Flynn as saying that the Fifth Interchange and the Northern Connector are "non related"

18 APRIL 2008    Federal Highway Adnistration, Charles J O'Neil, signs Finding of No Signifigant Impact Statement For Mine Lick Creek Interchange Road And Northern Connector Road.

25 APRIL 2008    THE LYNCH FAMILY ANNOUNCE THAT THE COUNTY AND THE CITY HAVE WITHDRAWN FROM LEGAL ACTION TO PRESS THEIR OUTRAGEOUS EMINENT DOMAIN ABUSE UPON THE LYNCH FAMILY

01 MAY 2008    TDOT puts up a partial electronic copy on their web site of the FONSI. This describes the staged construction of the connecting road from two to four lane but on a four lane right-of-way.

08 MAY 2008    The Lynch Family files a petition for Partition in Kind in Circuit Court. Attorneys ask for legal costs and damages.

09 MAY 2008   Herald-Citizen prints Finding of No Signifigant Impact or FONSI claiming that the Northern Connector and the Fifth Interchange are Connected.

20 JUNE 2008    The City of Cookeville is scheduled to meet Mrs Lynch in court to challenge the right to take property for a business park and to partition the property.

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CONTACT YOUR TENNESSEE

STATE TRANSPORATION OFFICIALS



House Committee on Transportation


Representative Phillip Pinion, chair ( D - Union City, District 77 - Obion, Lake, and part of Dyer counties)

Representative George Fraley,Vice-Chair ( D - Winchester, District 39 - Franklin, Moore, and part of Lincoln counties)

Representative Bill Harmon, Secretary ( D - Dunlap, District 37 - Sequatchie, Van Buren, Grundy, and Marion counties)

Representative Curt Cobb ( D - Shelbyville, District 62 - Bedford and parts of Lincoln and Rutherford counties)

Represenattive Vince Dean, (R - East Ridge, District 30 - Part of Hamilton County )

Representative Henry, The Fifth Interchange, Fincher D - (Cookeville, District 42 - Most of Putnam County)

Representative Dale Ford (R - Jonesborough, District 6 - Part of Washington and Hawkins Counties )

Representative G. A Hardaway, (D - Memphis, District 92 - Part of Shelby County, Midtown and Inner City Memphis; Communities of Orange Mound, Rozelle, Bethel Grove, Glenview, Magnolia, Copper-Young and Lamar/Parkway corridors, part of Binghampton.)

Representative Mathew Hill, ( R - Jonesborough, District 7 - Part of Washington County)

Representative Curtis Johnson, (R - Clarksville, District 68 - Part of Montgomery County)

Representative Phiillip Johnson, (R - Pegram, District 78 - Cheatham and part of Montgomery and Williamson counties.)

Representative Debra Maggart, (R - Hendersonville, District 45 - Part of Sumner County)

Representative Jimmy Matlock, (R - Lenoir, District 21 - Parts of Loudon and Monroe counties.)

Representative John Tidwell, (D - New Johnsonville, District 74 - Houston, Humphreys, Perry, and parts of Hickman and Maury counties.)

Representative Nathan Vaughn, (D - Kingsport, District 2 - Part of Sullivan County)

Representative Eric Watson, (R - Cleveland, District 22 - Meigs, Polk and part of Bradley counties)

Representative Ben West Jr. (D - Hermitage, District 60 - Part of Davidson County - Donelson, Hermitage and Antioch Communities)

Represenatative Leslie Winningham (D-Huntsville, District 38 - Clay, Jackson, Pickett, Scott and parts of Anderson counties.)

You can find all bills, fiscal notes, bill histories and co-sponsors, U.S. mail legislative and district office addresses and streaming video of committee and subcommittee meetings HERE

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SENATE TRANSPORTATION COMMITTEE:

Senator Jim Tracy, Chair - R - Shelbyville

District 16 - Bedford, Moore and part of Rutherford counties

Phone: 615-741-1066

Staff Contact: Judi Butler and Clint Hall

Senator Tommy Kilby, Vice Chair - D - Wartburg

District 12 - Campbell, Fentress, Morgan, Rhea, Roane and Scott Counties

Phone (615) 741-1449

Staff Contact: Michelle Stephenson, Brenda Gadd

Senator Jack Johnson, Sec. - R - Brentwood

District 23 - Williamson, and part of Davidson Counties

Phone (615) 741-2495

Contact: Catherine Haire

Senator Jerry Cooper - D -Morrison

District 14 - Franklin, Bledsoe, Coffee, Grundy, Sequatchie, Van Buren, and Warren counties

Phone (615) 741-6694

Staff Contact: Christina Barber

Senator Doug Jackson - D - Dickson

District 25 - Dickson, Giles, Hickman, Humphreys, Lawrence, and Lewis counties

Phone (615) 741-4499

Fax (615) 741-8745

Staff Contacts: Kim Andrews

Senator Rosalind Kurita -D - Clarksville

District 22 - Cheatham, Houston and Montgomery counties

Phone (615) 741-2374

Toll Free (800) 449-8366 Ext. 12374

Staff Contacts: Pamela George and Andrea Smith-Hummel

Senator Steve Southerland R - Morristown

District 1 - Cocke, Greene, Hamblen, and Unicoi counties

Phone (615) 741-3851

Staff Contacts: Carolyn Newman, Loudene Gee

Senator Micheal Williams - I - Maynardville

District 4 - Claiborne, Grainger, Hancock, Hawkins, Jefferson, and Union counties

Phone (615) 741-2061

Staff Contact: Rosalyn Martin

Senator Jamie Woodson - R - Knoxville

District 6 - Knox County

Phone:(615) 741-1648

Staff Contact: Pat Farmer, Alexanderia Honeycutt

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YOU MIGHT HAVE A USELESS ROAD IF...



1.    The road cost more money than it could ever hope to generate in taxes in a lifetime.

2.    The local Chamber of Commerce says it will be good for the economy

3.    The Chamber of Commerce organizes a pilgrimage to the Governor's office to tell him that everyone wants it.

4.    The local paper tells everybody that if you don't want it your are a NIMBY

5.    The local Chamber of Commerce is telling everyone that we have to do this because everyone else is doing it too.

6.    The local Chamber of Commerce is claiming that we have to do this to get ahead of everyone else who isn't doing it.

7.    TDOT says that it will cure the traffic problems.

8.    TDOT says it won't cure the traffic problems.

9.    The Chamber of Commerce claims that it will be good for the quality of life.

10.    The Chamber of Commerce says it will help get the next factory

11.    Your State Representative just thinks you are against it because of a pre-existing oppositional character flaw.

12.    The Chamber of Commerce is in secret negotiations with the next whiz-bang company that only needs this road to make the whole deal come together.

13.    TDOT is building a four-lane road when a two-lane would still have a high life cycle service level.

14.    TDOT is building a road that will damage your business but does not go through your business. (No blood, No foul)


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