News & Notes
April 20, 2017
House, Senate approve Haslam's transportation bill
Gov. Bill Haslam's hotly debated, controversial transportation-funding plan has made its way out of the General Assembly.
By a vote of 60-37, the bill cleared what was arguably its biggest hurdle in the House. Nine Middle Tennessee representatives, including three Rutherford County representatives and three Sumner County representatives, voted against the bill. All Davidson County representatives voted in favor of the bill.
By a vote of 25-6, the bill passed the Senate. Nearly all Middle Tennessee senators voted in support of the bill. Sen. Mae Beavers (R-Mt. Juliet) and Sen. Kerry Roberts (R-Springfield) voted against the bill.
To be sure, there are differences between the versions passed, but if either the House or Senate agrees to conform to the other, then the bill could avoid going to conference committee.
April 20, 2017
480 affordable apartments planned in East Nashville, Old Hickory
One of Nashville’s biggest developers of affordable housing is pursuing a pair of new apartment projects, including one targeting seniors, that could bring nearly 500 new units to two area communities.
In early fall, Elmington hopes to start work on a 210-unit community on 10 acres at 1205 Robinson Road in Old Hickory that would target seniors age 62 and older. The developer also has 18.25 acres at 2034 Pittway Drive off of East Trinity Lane in East Nashville under contract with plans to start building 270 apartment units in early-to-mid fall.
Those projects plus another 267 apartment units that Elmington plans at its proposed Hermitage Flats community on Old Hickory Boulevard in Hermitage should add much-needed inventory to Nashville's dwindling affordable housing stock.
April 19, 2017
House approves Haslam's gas tax proposal, Senate set to vote
Gov. Bill Haslam's signature piece of legislation for the year cleared its highest hurdle yet Wednesday after House lawmakers approved his plan to raise the tax on gas and diesel fuel to help fund a $10 billion backlog in transportation projects. The House's action moves the state one step closer to increasing the tax on gasoline for the first time in nearly 30 years. With a 60-37 vote, a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers accepted Haslam's proposal, which seeks to raise the tax on gasoline and diesel fuel by 6 cents and 10 cents, respectively, over a three-year period while also featuring a myriad of tax cuts.
April 19, 2017
Nashville motorists lose $1,667 annually from insufficient roads, report says
Tennessee roads and bridges that are deteriorated, congested or lack basic safety features cost the state's motorists a collective $6 billion annually, according to a new report from a national transportation research group. In Nashville, road woes cost motorists an average of $1,667 a year, the same report found. The release of the study, conducted by Washington, D.C-based TRIP, comes on the eve of a crucial Tennessee House of Representatives vote Wednesday on Gov. Bill Haslam's IMPROVE ACT, which includes a 6-cent increase over three years on the state's tax on gasoline to fund a $10 billion backlog in road projects.
April 18, 2017
RTA Board to consider Philadelphia's Pennrose to develop Donelson Station on Wednesday
A team led by a Philadelphia-based developer has been deemed most qualified to collaborate on a transit-oriented development of 5.1 acres that adjoins the Donelson Station train stop along the Music City Star commuter rail line. On Wednesday, the board of the Regional Transportation Authority of Middle Tennessee will consider authorizing CEO Stephen G. Bland to enter exclusive negotiations with Pennrose Properties. With approval, the developer known for its expertise in building apartment projects near train stops in the northeast will have up to two years to negotiate with the authority for development, financing, construction and management of the Donelson Station and Park & Ride.
April 17, 2017
Housing forum: What Nashville’s growth means to you
A free forum about affordable housing that The Tennessean will be holding at 6 p.m. Wednesday, April 26, at the downtown location of the Nashville Public Library, which is also sponsoring the event. Register for the event at http://forum.tennessean.com.
The forum stems from the yearlong series called the “Costs of Growth and Change in Nashville” that runs on the last Sunday of each month.
April 14, 2017
ICYMI: Don't lose momentum on Tennessee road funding
The IMPROVE Act, proposed by Gov. Bill Haslam, to tackle the $10.5 billion backlog in roads and infrastructure projects over 13 years is a massive and prudent investment in Tennessee’s economy and the quality of life of its people. As the state’s population grows, as more tourists visit and as more commerce flows through the Volunteer State, roads and bridges must be built, repaired and improved.
April 12, 2017
House committee votes in favor of the IMPROVE Act; bill headed to floor
Undeterred by a last-minute plan spearheaded by House Speaker Beth Harwell, Gov. Bill Haslam’s gas tax plan cleared yet another legislative hurdle Tuesday. With a voice vote, Haslam’s proposal, which seeks to raise the state’s tax on gasoline and diesel fuel over a three-year period, was approved by the House Finance, Ways and Means Committee.
April 12, 2017
Outlook Williamson reveals why county is such a draw for companies
A company’s emotional connection to a community can make or break its decision to move there. And Williamson County’s image as a hub for corporate headquarters has nearly been honed to perfection. "You drive around here, and you just kind of feel good," said consultant Dennis Burnside at the 4th annual Outlook Williamson economic summit on Tuesday. "It just feels compelling. Your quality of life here, from our perspective, is terrific. You can have all of the incentives in the world, but if you don’t have the workforce, the quality of life, it’s a deal breaker."
Burnside's insight on what brings businesses to communities is the kind of "peel-back-the-curtain" experience Williamson Inc. CEO Matt Largen wanted for the annual economic summit hosted by the local chamber of commerce.
April 11, 2017
Williamson Inc.'s 2017 trends report: 5 takeaways
One of the highlights of the Outlook Williamson economic summit held annually in Franklin is the release of the Williamson County trends report, an overview of the factors shaping the local economy. The Tennessean got an early copy of the report, and here are our top 5 takeaways. 1)Williamson County's demographics are changing rapidly, 2) Middle Tennesseans see Williamson County housing as expensive, but for newcomers it's affordable, 3) Williamson County is becoming the state's economic powerhouse, 4) Williamson County's rapid population increase has pushed traffic problems to the forefront, and 5) These signs indicate Williamson County is on the precipice of an even larger population boom