By Eileen Houlihan, senior writer/editor, ARTBA
The Transportation Coalition of Tennessee, a statewide group of businesses, citizens, community leaders, public officials and organizations – including ARTBA chapter Tennessee Road Builders Association – launched a group of interactive maps Aug. 4 showing hundreds of unfunded state road and highway projects. The page is part of the group’s ongoing education initiative to highlight transportation infrastructure funding problems, the group’s website said.
The maps include unfunded projects in nearly every one of Tennessee’s 95 counties. The Coalition, which said the state has an $8 billion funding shortfall, also said experts estimate it would take an additional $800 million annually to begin to seriously address some of the backlog of badly needed road projects across the state.
“Tennessee Department of Transportation officials warned late last year that the state is in increasing danger of being able to provide only basic maintenance on roads and bridges, leaving many projects aimed at keeping up with population growth and addressing needed safety improvements on the drawing board,” the website said.
U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx was in Knoxville, Tennessee, this week to highlight the lack of funding for road projects in the state. Foxx was quoted on local news as saying the roadway projects “tie together Knoxville’s economy, but the money to fix them is running out.” According to Foxx, the state has already had to delay $400 million in projects. An ARTBA report earlier this summer said seven states, including Tennessee, had delayed or canceled projects valued at over $1.6 billion due to uncertainty over federal funding.