The Senate has approved a $6 million down payment on a cash settlement for Swain County in the dispute over an unfinished road through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
The money was included in a transportation appropriations bill the Senate approved Wednesday. It's part of an expected $52 million settlement for the federal government's failure to build the road along the north shore of Fontana Lake.
Although the House version of the bill doesn't include language on the settlement, a spokesman for Rep. Heath Shuler says his boss has been told by House leaders that the Senate version including the down payment is likely to be adopted. That would come during a conference committee on the measure.
In May, the National Park Service announced it would recommend against finishing the so-called "Road to Nowhere." It was to replace one that was flooded in the 1940s when Fontana Dam was built.