NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A Tennessee congressman wants to see more trees around state highways with a focus on beauty and the planet.
Representative Mark Green is typically not known for environmental work, but he had the idea of a private effort to reforest barren land around state highways.
“I am here today as a Tennessean and not a U.S. Congressman,” said Green as he began an event on Nashville’s Legislative Plaza.
Green said he cannot be directly part of the new project because of House ethics rules, but his idea is being carried forward by a group with the congressman’s last name called the Green Interchange.
“Why not take that unused land and do something with it?” asked Rep. Green at the event. “The greatest vaccum cleaner on the planet despite our amazing technology is still a tree.”
The Green Interchange is being run by a man, who along with volunteers, said he has already planted 700,000 trees around Tennessee.
“One of the things I know they worked on very hard was making sure that everyone understood how we could get the green infrastructure into the design of these roads,” said John McFadden, who is CEO of Green Interchange.
The Tennessee Department of Transportation or TDOT, said while it has other programs to reforest along state highway property, it is still happy to work with this private effort.
“We do have a pretty large footprint out there and there are opportunities away from the traffic lanes to plant trees to put nice gateways into communities,” said TDOT Chief Engineer Paul Degges.
The first tree project is scheduled at a Spring Hill, Tennessee interchange later this year.
The Green Interchange will plant one tree around interchanges for each $6.00 donated to the project.