Tennessee DOT Improvement Plan Reflects Federal Funding Uncertainty

Tennessee Department of Transportation officials and Governor Bill Haslam released the state's 2015 - 2017 transportation improvement plan, which includes $1.5 billion in investments for 59 projects and 14 state-wide programs. Officials say TDOT has taken "a conservative approach to this program," due to federal Highway Trust Fund concerns.

The 2015-2017 plan stresses maintaining the condition of state roadways and bridges, investing more than $600 million in resurfacing and bridge work. TDOT will also focus on interstate safety issues, such as adding truck climbing lanes, interchange projects, and adding capacity on major state routes.

"Despite the funding challenges facing transportation agencies, this program represents TDOT's commitment to building and maintaining one of the best transportation systems in the nation," Haslam said in a statement. "Improving safety, relieving congestion, and expanding economic opportunities remain top priorities and will help us reach our goal of making Tennessee the number one location in the Southeast for high quality jobs."

TDOT's plan reflects that state's pay-as-you-go approach, which means the state carries no debt for any transportation projects. However, the state receives roughly half of its funding from the HTF. According to the latest projections, the HTF could run out of money before the expiration of current surface transportation bill MAP-21, though reimbursements from the U.S. Department of Transportation to states could be delayed or halted sooner than that (see related AASHTO Journal story here).

"We are at a critical point in federal transportation funding and without action, there will be major impacts to TDOT programs," TDOT Commissioner John Schroer said in a statement. "We would be forced to develop an alternate program that reflects the loss of federal dollars, and focuses exclusively on the maintenance of our existing pavement and bridges rather than new projects."

A list of all projects funded in TDOT's three-year plan is available here.  

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