During his State of the State address Monday evening, Governor Bill Haslam focused on a $307 million boost for capital projects on college campuses. If passed, $24 million of that chunk would go toward converting the steam plant on UT's campus.
Governor Haslam wants the plant to burn natural gas instead of coal. School officials say the plant is a key contributor to pollution in Knox County. Updating the plant and getting new equipment would reduce the plant's emissions by 50 percent.
"To put that into context, that's the equivalent of taking 7,000 cars off the road on a daily basis. It makes a huge impact in terms of our quality, in terms of this city and in terms of livability and in terms of our carbon footprint," said Dave Irvin with facilities services.
Irvin says they've already started designing plans. If the legislature passes the proposal, construction would start in the fall and finish in 2016.