Metro Council approves $300M capital spending plan - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Metro Council approves $300M capital spending plan

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

Mayor Karl Dean's $300 million capital spending plan earned its final approval from Metro Council on Tuesday night.

The plan includes money for building schools, repairing roads, adding sidewalks and the new bus rapid transit system known as the AMP.

The AMP project could be completed in three years and stretch more than seven miles from Saint Thomas Hospital to Five Points in east Nashville.

Dean said the AMP will keep people moving through Nashville and help keep the city competitive with others.

"This show of support sends a strong message to the FTA that Nashville is ready to move forward with mass transit," Dean said.

How does plan affect Metro Schools?

The school board finalized and approved an operating budget of $746 million on Tuesday night.  That figure is 3.6 percent more than last year but still less than the district wanted.

School leaders have said they will make cuts in staffing in order to meet that bottom line, including 20 teachers from the "English As A Second Language" program and 24 other staff members from the central office.

"This is a result of a capital funding request from last year. And it's really a great example of how a school can change and how it can change a neighborhood, really, when we have money to support the schools," said Metro schools spokesman Joe Bass.

In the past six years, Metro Schools requested $600 million in capital funding but only received half of that figure.

"So, what you see is a ripple effect throughout the rest of the projects. They wind up getting delayed a bit or pushed back or altered," Bass said.

"Metro has taken care of us, so that when we do a project, we do it right. What we fail to have is all the projects we like. But we're not going to come into this building and do half of it," said Ken Murdock, Metro schools director of planning and construction.

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