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Walker: Concerns About Street Projects Efficiency Using T-DOT

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Walker: Concerns About Street Projects Efficiency Using T-DOT

Would Cookeville be better doing future projects on its own without T-DOT money?

Cookeville Council Member Eric Walker said it’s something to consider. Last week, council rebid part one of the Spring Street sidewalk project which started in 2014. T-DOT delays have kept the project from beginning, and the price tag rising.

Walker said that in cases like the East Spring Street upgrades, he’s concerned that T-DOT grant technicalities prolong much-needed projects when the city could do the work itself and save money at the same time.

“If there’s a state grant project that will work somewhere where the need isn’t that great and if we can get the money and it can be done in a timely fashion, then that’s great,” Walker said. “But a lot of times we’ve got to put up a lot of money for engineering and things like that, and we don’t get reimbursed until the end.”

Walker said that hindsight is 20/20. He said that at the end of the day, it’s the taxpayer dollars one way or another whether it’s come from sales tax or property tax.

He said that if we can do it for cheaper in the city, why can’t the state just give the city the money to get it done.

“Because if in 2014 we had just done this project on our own, and you know this was before our council’s term and really before the council before that was really when this project was born,” Walker said. “And you know at that time, if we had just said that we’re going to go start digging dirt and putting sidewalks along the side of the road, we probably would’ve spent less than our matching portion of this grant is overall. Because after you look at engineering and these projects, especially with the costs of construction increasing over eight years, you get this situation where it’s not really feasible not to just go ahead and tackle the project.”


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