Governor and Commissioner Release Transportation Improvement Plan for 2015-2017; Conservative Program Reflects Federal Funding Uncertainty
NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) Commissioner John Schroer today released the three-year transportation program, featuring approximately $1.5 billion in infrastructure investments for 59 individual project phases in 41 counties, as well as 14 statewide programs.
Due to the uncertainty of the future of the Federal Highway Trust Fund, TDOT has taken a conservative approach to this building program. The program does not feature early engineering work on any new projects. TDOT is continuing its “pay-as-you-go” philosophy and remains one of only four states in the nation to carry no debt for any transportation initiatives. Tennessee’s transportation system has also been recognized as one of the best in the nation.
“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. “Improving safety, relieving congestion, and expanding economic opportunities remain top priorities and will help us reach our goal of making Tennessee the No. 1 location in the Southeast for high quality jobs.”
The three-year, multimodal program places a high priority on maintaining the condition of our pavement and bridges. TDOT will invest over $600 million in resurfacing and bridge repair and replacement projects over the next three years. The program also funds several improvements to the interstate system, including the addition of truck climbing lanes, interchange projects, and capacity expansion on several major state routes.
The program also provides funding for improved access in several communities, including the construction of new interchanges on I-40 at Mine Lick Creek Road in Putnam County and I-640 at North Broadway in Knox County.
TDOT receives approximately half of its funding from the Federal Highway Trust Fund. If new transportation funding legislation is not passed by Congress in the coming months, the fund will run out of money by September 30, 2014.
“We are at a critical point in federal transportation funding and without action, there will be major impacts to TDOT programs,” Schroer said. “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.”
The program includes dedicated funding for 14 transportation programs including Rockfall Mitigation, Spot Safety Improvement, the statewide HELP Program and the second year of the State Route Multimodal Access Initiative, which enhances connections between modes, such as sidewalks and park-and-ride facilities at key locations along state routes. The program also provides funding for transit agencies, Metropolitan and Rural Planning Organizations and private non-profit organizations in all 95 counties in Tennessee.
Please see the attached list of highlighted projects in each of TDOT’s four regions. To view a complete list of projects and programs funded through the 2015-2017 three-year multimodal program visit http://www.tn.gov/tdot/news/2014/ThreeYearProgram2015-2017.pdf.