Press release from Beth Harwell, Speaker of the Tennessee House of Representatives, July 15, 2015:
Harwell: Surplus money should fund needed road and infrastructure projects
NASHVILLE – Speaker Beth Harwell (R-Nashville) today said that as the state is seeing better-than-expected revenues, part of the one-time, surplus money should be used to fund needed road and infrastructure projects. Transportation officials have testified to the General Assembly that currently, the state highway fund only has enough money for maintenance projects. New construction projects that were slated for 2015 were delayed due to a lack of funding. Media outlets have recently reported that the state will potentially have a surplus of approximately $500 million.
“These road and infrastructure projects are a basic function of state government, and should be considered a priority,” said Speaker Harwell. “As we consider how to best serve the taxpayers, I believe we should consider using a significant portion of this one-time money to fund these projects. We are fortunate to be a ‘pay-as-we-go’ state, meaning we do not go into debt for road projects. By utilizing this funding, we can continue that tradition of responsible fiscal management.”
“I applaud Governor Haslam for highlighting our infrastructure needs, and think using this one-time money will make significant progress on the backlog that has been building,” she said.
Speaker Harwell estimated there could be up to $400 million in one-time funding to fund the projects.
“Road and infrastructure projects have an impact not only on the quality of life for Tennesseans, but also have a positive and lasting economic development impact. I believe it to be a priority, and think this is an investment that will benefit all taxpayers,” Harwell concluded.