The Cookeville-Putnam County Chamber of Commerce, Highlands Economic Partnership and Cookeville-Putnam County Visitors Bureau encourage the Tennessee State Legislature to consider and support the following priorities.
Transportation & Infrastructure
We support initiatives that increase and improve infrastructure within the region. We encourage the state legislature to increase dedicated funding to road, utility, and other transportation and infrastructure projects. These items include:
1. The construction of truck climbing lanes on I-40 East from Exit 268 to 273, as well as from Exit 295 to 300 as recommended by the recent Tennessee Department of Transportation study conducted by WSP USA.
2. The efforts to raise awareness for challenges being presented by the designation of TN SR-111 and TN SR-56 as “limited access roads.” This designation limits access to commercial sites.
3. The support for the Broadband Accessibility Act as well as additional dedicated funds for broadband deployment for the purpose of increasing broadband adoption and utilization.
Workforce Development & Education
We support education policies that lay the groundwork for postsecondary and career awareness and preparedness as well as those that promote economic and workforce development. These items include:
1. The funding for the Tennessee Tech Engineering Building capital project.
2. The funding of Early Postsecondary Opportunities (EPSO) for students to obtain any four dual enrollment courses and achieve a postsecondary credential while in high school.
3. The funding of Basic Education Program (BEP) of each Local Education Agency (LEA) for the 2021-2022 academic year to be calculated based on the LEA’s 2019-2020 average daily membership (ADM), rather than the LEA’s 2020-2021 ADM, unless the LEA’s 2020-2021 ADM exceeds the LEA’s 2019-2020 ADM.
4. The continuation of the Governor’s Investment in Vocational Education (GIVE) Act and new legislation effective July 1, 2020 which allows high school juniors and seniors who have met HOPE Scholarship academic requirements to receive Dual Enrollment Grant (DEG) funding for up to three courses per semester.
5. We ask the state to support WCTE PBS’s NextGenTV concept which would leverage datacasting to bridge the digital divide.
Economic & Tourism Development
We support efforts to brand Tennessee as a favorable environment for tourism, business location, expansion, and job creation. These items include:
1. The designation of Virgin Falls as a Tennessee State Park.
2. The support for continued funding of programs and resources defined within the Rural Economic Opportunities (REO) Act of 2016. Examples of highly beneficial programs funded through the Rural Economic Opportunities include the Select TN suite of programs, Property Evaluation Program (PEP), Site Development Grant (SDG), TN Placemakers Grant, Retail Academy Grant and the Tourism Enhancement Grant.
3. The support of the Tourism Enhancement Grant, which was developed to provide tourism infrastructure resources to enhance and improve the economic impact of tourism across the state. TDTD manages the grant in partnership with TNECD, funded through the Tennessee Rural Economic Opportunity Act of 2016.