Tennessee Mayor Questions Certain TDOT Spending Priorities

James Mayberry

Take two pieces of infrastructure.

Maybe one is a road. Maybe the other is a sidewalk.

Both of those things are under the oversight of the Tennessee Department of Transportation.

One project might need more attention than the other.

Sometimes the project that doesn’t need as much attention is TDOT’s priority, said Crossville Mayor James Mayberry.

Mayberry told The Tennessee Star he sometimes doesn’t grasp why.

But Mayberry did say he’s grateful for a new $1.3 million grant to pay for sidewalks in his city and that the money is needed.

The money will also pay for new streetlights and crosswalks in Crossville’s downtown area. With that new grant money city officials will bring up sidewalks to comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act, among other things.

Main Street, where much of this work will take place, is a state highway, Mayberry said.

“If you drove on it right now you’d understand why it needs to be paved. Having said that, I don’t agree with everything TDOT does,” Mayberry said.

“I’ve been told not to ask ‘Why’ sometimes, because it’s hard to get a good explanation as to why certain things get done. I’ve been told not to ask why on a lot of questions as it pertains to state government, federal government, so on and so forth.”

The person who told Mayberry that  — according to him it came from his brother, who once was a county commissioner.

“He said ‘Don’t ask why because you won’t get an explanation,’” Mayberry said.

“The people at TDOT may have their reasoning, although you may not understand it.”

When asked for an example, Mayberry spoke of a ramp at a rest area that got attention. The ramp wasn’t as high on his personal priority list as perhaps a few other places.

Last year, at the behest of TDOT officials and Republican Gov. Bill Haslam, state legislators voted to raise the state gas tax to pay for new road projects.

TDOT officials said they would use the money to complete 962 backlogged projects in all 95 Tennessee counties, at a cost of $10.5 billion.

None of the money making its way to Crossville comes from any state gas tax revenue, said TDOT spokeswoman B.J. Doughty.

“That grant is from the Transportation Alternatives Program – a FEDERAL program that is designed only for projects such as this,” Doughty said in an emailed statement.

“These funds have nothing to do with our state gas tax dollars.”

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to chrisbutlerjournalist@gmail.com.

 

 

 

 

 

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One Thought to “Tennessee Mayor Questions Certain TDOT Spending Priorities”

  1. Cannoneer2

    As I have said before, TDOT’S highest priority is I-65 between Franklin and Nashville. Politics, not need probably dictates everything else.

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