MADISON, Ala. (WHNT) — The City of Madison has approved a funding agreement with Town Madison that will have the city spend over $36 million to expand the interstate interchange for the community.

The city council approved several items involving Town Madison particularly the fly-over ramps that are meant to allow people to get into the 563-acre area which plays host to Toyota Field.

The items included a funding agreement with Town Madison, which is currently being run as a cooperative district so that the city could borrow money to pay for flyovers, the bid package for the actual construction of the flyovers in the amount of $36,780,000, a resolution approving legal representation from Hand Arendall Harrison Sale to help with borrowing the money and to allow for payments, not to exceed $10 million but estimated at $2 million, from the general fund to start the project and then pay that money back with part of the borrowed money.

The new flyover ramps will allow eastbound traffic to exit into Town Madison. Currently, there is only an exit for the westbound lanes.

Some residents present at the meeting pushed back on the funding agreement and the subsequent actions on the council’s agenda.

One district 5 resident, Bernadette Mayor, said she was concerned with the debt the city is taking on as part of the proposal and a general lack of transparency.

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“It just seems like there’s a freight train running and that there are some brakes that need to be done,” she said. “It just seems like there is just so much debt that the city is going to be having that it’s going to take away from some of the short-term needs.”

Another resident strongly urged the city to reconsider, calling the whole proposal a corporate subsidy. Several other residents also questioned how the ramps will benefit the city itself.

The council is funding the project through Amendment 772 of the Alabama Constitution to use public money for a private venture that has a public benefit.

Several members of the council and Mayor Paul Finley said the agreement will allow the city to receive tax revenue from Town Madison, which has previously gone to the cooperative district which is run by the developer.

Council President Ranae Bartlett said the agreement will also give the city the option to buy the developer’s interest in Town Madison, allowing the city to use tax revenue to pay off any debt and bring in more tax dollars for the city in general.

“What we passed tonight was a funding agreement that gave us the option to have us buy out Mr. Breland’s interest but we are also paying for the flyovers, ” she said.

Bartlett said the council will make the final decision on if they want to take that option at their Nov. 28 meeting.

Mayor Finley stressed that the city had heard a lot of advice from financial advisors and others before making the decision. He said the agreement will bring in much more money that the city can put into other services.

“You are talking eight to nine million dollars a year that the city will have to spend on its citizens,” Finley said.

He also said if the city did not do this now, the flyovers may never get done.