Governor Haslam discusses Transportation and Infrastructure Needs

Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam has been busy this month touring the state discussing infrastructure and transportation needs. Governor Bill Haslam said, "The reality is, as vehicles and cars and trucks get better mileage, we have less money to maintain the roads the way people want them too."

In the meantime, the cost to maintain those roads are three times more expensive than they were two decades ago. Governor Haslam said, "It’s obviously a critical issue facing our state and this is part of an initial conversation to talk about what the need is, and the specific needs in this area that need to be addressed. And what we might possibly do about it." One of the most expensive projects in our region is ‘the split’ which carries more than 120-thousand vehicles per day. This project alone costs 70-million dollars to complete. It is currently in the environmental phase. Governor Haslam says at some point in time the state is going to have to look into raising the gas tax. Governor Haslam said, "There is no magic solution here. We can’t say we have 6 billion dollars. That’s what our back law projects is. And we are going to somehow miraculously fund those projects with some nickels and dimes."

And Congress hasn’t passed a long term transportation funding bill in a decade. John Schroer, Tennessee Department of Transportation Commissioner said, "There’s just no appetite for tax increase period in Congress, so there’s really no plan to fund a long term bill which is why we keep getting short term extensions. And I don’t see that changing." Governor Haslam said, "There is no proposal out there to be for or against yet. There is no proposal that has been made, so lets wait. Listen and learn, and see what gets put on the table."  Governor Haslam says he is not in favor of going into debt. He also will not propose toll roads as a means of funding.

Other regional impact projects are the interchange modification on I-24 at Broad Street and Market Street. This project would upgrade ramps and improve access from I-24 to the south side of Chattanooga. The estimated cost of completion for this project is 37-million dollars. The widening of Bonny Oaks Drive from SR-17 to I-75 in Chattanooga is another project in the works. The road is in the vicinity of the Enterprise South Industrial Park where the Volkswagen and Amazon facilities are located. The estimated cost of this project is more than 63-million dollars.

Categories: Local News

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