Nashville gets federal funding for new traffic management center

Nashville’s new traffic management center — a technology hub focused on improving traffic safety and flow — will be fully funded by a federal grant, Mayor John Cooper announced Thursday.

The state provided the $3.65 million grant from a coffer of federal dollars, with no local matching required. The Metro Council must approve the grant before the city can receive the funds.

The funding will power the Nashville Department of Transportation’s Traffic Management Center at 700 Second Ave. S. There, NDOT employees will have access to traffic signal control systems, sensor-based traffic monitoring technology and other tools.

The center will serve as a “clearinghouse” for traffic updates and provide data to be used to ease congestion, according to Thursday’s announcement. NDOT will share these updates in real time on electronic street signs, social media, nashville.gov, and in cooperation with the Tennessee Department of Transportation and other city agencies.

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Funds for the grant come from the Federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program.

The Traffic Management Center is a component of the Metro Transportation Plan adopted in December 2020. The plan was developed with input from nearly 3,000 residents and organizations and calls for street repairs and upgrades; security improvements; improved and expanded cycle paths, sidewalks and greenways; and reducing pedestrian and traffic fatalities.

Council members initially balked at what they said was a plan lacking financial backing or a clear timeline for project completion, but ultimately approved the 33-5 plan for $1.6 billion. of dollars. Prior to its passage, Cooper stressed the plan’s focus on securing state and federal funds.

The city launched the Nashville Department of Transportation and Multimodal Infrastructure last July, appointing Diana Alarcon as director in November. Alarcon officially took control of the department on January 10.

Over the past two years, Nashville has secured nearly $44 million in transportation and infrastructure grants and partnerships.

Nearly 25% of Cooper’s recently approved $564 million capital spending plan is for transportation improvements.

In a press release Thursday, Cooper said the grant “affirms our transportation strategy” and demonstrates the Metro Transportation Plan’s ability to “unlock state and federal funding.”

Council member Zach Young chairs the subway’s transportation and infrastructure committee, and said traffic in Nashville has returned to pre-pandemic levels.

“We need to move quickly on projects like the Traffic Management Center to keep Nashville running for our residents and visitors,” Young said in the statement.

Contact reporter Cassandra Stephenson at [email protected] or (731) 694-7261. Follow Cassandra on Twitter at @CStephenson731.

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