KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — $20 million of state funds would go towards the construction of a long-discussed pedestrian bridge in downtown Knoxville if Tennessee Governor Bill Lee‘s amended state budget is approved.

Lee has proposed an amendment to his original 2023-2024 Fiscal Year budget recommendation announced in February. According to the Sycamore Institute, an independent, nonpartisan public policy research center, the amendment would add $260 million in net new spending and bring the total budget to $52.8 billion.

A $20 million non-recurring subsidy for a proposed pedestrian bridge that would connect the University of Tennessee campus to the South Knoxville riverfront was included in the amendment.

The bridge project has been discussed by city and state leaders for over 20 years but has recently gained momentum among city and university leaders.

The City of Knoxville recently applied for a $25 million federal grant to help fund the project. According to grant application, the city and the University of Tennessee would provide up to $8 million in non-federal funding for the project.

The grant estimated the cost of the bridge at $70 million. Grant selections will be announced no later than June 28.

In February, the University of Tennessee Board of Trustees approved a $9 million purchase of a seven-acre piece of land at 2323 West Blount Avenue, directly across the river from Thompson-Boling Arena.

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The university has struggled to meet the need for student housing as enrollment continues to grow. The new riverfront property could be a way to help meet the need for student housing, parking and other facilities.

The $20 million from the state would fall short of requests made by the city and the university. The grant application showed that over $36 million was requested from the state fiscal year budget.

Tennessee Congressman Tim Burchett has committed $500,000 of federal funds, the grant application shows.

The development for the pedestrian bridge remains in its early stages and it’s not yet clear where the additional funds to meet the $70 million price tag would come from.

According to the Sycamore Institute, approving the fiscal year budget proposal will likely be one of the Tennessee General Assembly’s final actions before adjourning the legislative session.

The project would also connect the campus with an 18-mile downtown greenway system and the 45-mile Urban Wilderness Trail system in South Knoxville.