Press Releases

TDOT Celebrates 100th Anniversary

Press release from the Tennessee Department of Transportation; July 1, 2014:

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Transportation today kicked off “100 Years of Moving Tennessee Forward,” a year-long celebration of its centennial as a state agency. The state statute creating the first state highway agency, the Tennessee Department of Highways and Public Works, became law on July 1, 1915. The department was tasked with creating a network of state highways and to perform and oversee construction and maintenance on state roadways.

Commissioner John C. Schroer, the 29th commissioner of the agency, said, “For a hundred years, this agency has been moving Tennessee forward with a fiscally sound funding philosophy and strategic investments. Our goal then and now is to serve the citizens of Tennessee by providing the best transportation system in the nation.”

Several activities are planned over the next year, including historical exhibits, a history book, and a permanent centennial memorial to help educate Tennesseans on the value of transportation and the significant contributions made by the agency and the men and women who built the state’s transportation system.

TDOT has also launched a website with a history video, schedule of activities for the year, an agency timeline, “Transportation AnecDOTes,” a photo gallery and historical documents. Later this summer a social media campaign will encourage the public to share their transportation related photos. A celebration will cap off events on July 1, 2015 when TDOT hits the big 100.

“From Gov. Austin Peay’s 1923 recognition that motorists should pay for the roads rather than property owners to the passage of the 1986 Road Program by Gov. Lamar Alexander, leadership in Tennessee has always recognized the value of a good transportation system and acted on that philosophy,” Commissioner Schroer added. “We are pleased to mark this milestone by sharing TDOT’s history with our transportation users.”

The “100 Years of Moving Tennessee Forward” website is located on the TDOT website:

[youtube height=”HEIGHT” width=”WIDTH”][/youtube]

NewsTracker Tax and Budget

TDOT Taking ‘Ford Fiesta’ Approach to Road Projects

Tennessee transportation officials say they want to put more emphasis on improving existing roadways, rather than building new projects that entail costly land acquisition and environmental reviews.

Tennessee Department of Transportation Commissioner John Schroer said during a state budget hearing Wednesday that an agency focus on “right-sizing” will save hundreds of millions of dollars over the next decade.

“We’re going to the very beginning and saying, OK, what’s the minimum we can do to fix this project?” Schroer said. “And it might not be ‘A,’ it might not be ‘B,’ it might be ‘C,’ but before we just go all the way to ‘X’ and say that’s what we’re going to build and everybody’s happy so we build a Cadillac, we might be building a Ford Fiesta.”

Schroer said the department is proposing to increase its budget next year by $61.4 million, based on increased federal funding, which makes up more than half the agency’s budget. State funding is projected to decrease, he said. The department’s projected budget for fiscal year 2014 is $1.8 billion.

The public can view state budget hearings, which continue next week, at

Press Releases

State Grant Issued for Niota Train Depot Repairs

Press release from the Tennessee Department of Transportation; July 18, 2012: 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) Commissioner John Schroer announced today the award of a $156,800 transportation enhancement grant to the city of Niota for the Depot Restoration Project.

The Niota Depot, which was constructed in 1854, is the oldest standing train depot in the state of Tennessee and presently serves as the Niota City Hall. The Depot Restoration Project will make urgent repairs to the depot’s stone and brick foundation, and restore the baggage room doors. The project will allow Niota to promote this antebellum depot that played critical roles in East Tennessee’s railroad history, the Civil War, and late 19th and early 20th century textile industries.

“Tennessee is rich with historic landmarks such as the Niota Depot, and preserving them for future generations to enjoy and appreciate is important,” Haslam said. “The building’s restoration and adaptive reuse can create a more vibrant and economically sustainable downtown and will bring new visitors to the area each year. We are proud to support these important improvements.”

“Through Transportation Enhancement grants, TDOT has funded more than $270 million in non-traditional transportation projects,” said TDOT Commissioner John Schroer. “This program has assisted communities all over the state in their efforts to revitalize downtowns, highlight historic areas, provide alternative means of transportation, and increase opportunities for economic development.”

A variety of activities such as the restoration of historic facilities, bike and pedestrian trails, landscaping and other non-traditional transportation projects are eligible for grant funds under the federal program.

State Senator Mike Bell (R-Riceville) and Representative John Forgety (R-Athens) represent McMinn County in the Tennessee General Assembly.