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Tennessee Infrastructure Needs Estimate Increases By $5B, Report Says

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The Center Square [By Jon Styf] –

Tennessee’s inventory of infrastructure needs is $5.4 billion higher than a year ago, according to a new report from the Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations.

The largest increases included post-secondary education ($1.2 billion) and both water and wastewater projects ($1.1 billion).

The largest driver for the increase was $506 million in an estimated cost increase for a Nashville sewer system upgrade related to a consent decree from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

“Of the new projects, four were $30 million or more: a new water treatment plant in Wilson County ($75 million), an intake line to the Pigeon Forge Water Treatment Plant in Sevier County ($50 million), a sewer upgrade in Kingsport ($40 million), and a new water plant in Lewisburg ($30 million),” the TACIR report said. “The increased cost of existing water and wastewater infrastructure needs is primarily driven by a single project that increased by $506 million (69%) as a result of updated cost estimates.”

The estimated increase come despite nearly $1 billion in federal water, wastewater and stormwater grants sent to 329 local governments through the American Rescue Plan Act.

The law enforcement needs estimate increased by $495 million through $186 million in costs for the new Tennessee Emergency Management Agency Emergency Operations Center in Nashville and a $100 million increase for the jail and justice center in Morristown.

The post-secondary cost increases include $108 million in addition costs for a renovation of Neyland Stadium at the University of Tennessee and a $66 million increase for the addition to Fletcher Hall at Tennessee Chattanooga.

The University of Tennessee also has a new $227 million project at its College of Business and $151 million for a chemistry building to replace the current building.

About the Author: Jon Styf, The Center Square Staff Reporter – Jon Styf is an award-winning editor and reporter who has worked in Illinois, Texas, Wisconsin, Florida and Michigan in local newsrooms over the past 20 years, working for Shaw Media, Hearst and several other companies. Follow Jon on Twitter @JonStyf.

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