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Transportation Act Slows Tennessee’s Infrastructure Needs, Doesn’t Reverse Them

Image: Interstate 275 – Tennessee Image Credit: Doug Kerr / CC

By Adam Friedman [Tennessee Lookout -CC BY-NC-ND 4.0] –

Tennessee’s transportation infrastructure needs have grown almost every year since 2008, reports compiled by the state’s intergovernmental advisory agency show. 

Over that period, lawmakers have partially addressed the backlog by raising the gas tax in 2017 and dedicating $3 billion in surplus funds to it in 2023.

A draft of the latest Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations (TACIR) infrastructure needs report shows the state has over $68.3 billion in infrastructure needs with around $34.7 billion in transportation infrastructure needs.

A draft of the report, which TACIR releases annually, was made available earlier this week ahead of a commission meeting scheduled for Thursday, where it is expected to receive approval. 

The state’s transportation needs leveled off this year compared to last because the state passed the Transportation Modernization Act, dedicating $3 billion to road building.

Overall, the Tennessee Department of Transportation says it can leverage the state funds into another $12 billion in transportation infrastructure contributions from the federal government and will spend $600 million annually as part of its normal budget on infrastructure needs.

The act focuses on road building and includes a plan for the state to create toll lanes

On Wednesday, TDOT officials told the Senate Transportation Committee it plans to spend $2.7 billion of the act’s allocation by 2028, at which point infrastructure spending will once again fall off. 

Per TACIR, transportation infrastructure needs have grown at an average of 4.69% each year since 2008.

With the modernization act Tennessee should see a slight decline in its needs, but the legislation only addresses part of the state’s long term needs, a point the transportation department has acknowledged in past reports.

*Note from The Tennessee Conservative: Per The Tennessee Lookout’s Republishing Guidelines, this article has been edited for writing style and length.

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