NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Millions of dollars in infrastructure needs and repairs are soon coming to the Volunteer State. Congress sent the bi-partisan Infrastructure and Jobs Act to President Joe Biden over the weekend.
According to a January report from the Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations, Tennessee needs $58.6 billion dollars in infrastructure improvement over the next few years.
All but the two Democrats in the state voted against the infrastructure investment some Republicans citing the cost as one reason why they voted against the $1 trillion plan.
“I think it’s going to be transformational to the point it’s going to drive us closer towards socialism and more government dependency,” Rep. Tim Burchett said.
Burchett, an East Tennessee Republican, said the cost is unaffordable — and does not take Tennessee into consideration. “It’s not fully paid for, it adds $400 billion to our debt so it’s just a total fallacy that it’s paid for and the bulk of it goes to things that will never touch Tennessee,” Burchett said. “$66 billion for Amtrak which overwhelmingly services East Coast cities, $66 billion to transfer power grid to what most people find is unreliable or renewable energy.”
According to TDOT, the state will receive:
- $1.35 billion in federal highway funds
- $302 million for bridge repairs
- $630 million to improve public transportation
- $88 million for electric charging stations
- $300 million for airport improvements
“This is going to mean lots of jobs for Tennessee and lots of investment in infrastructure that is badly deteriorated and needs an upgrade,” State Senator Jeff Yarbro said.
The Infrastructure and Jobs Act will also deliver $100 million to expand broadband access to 402,000 Tennesseans who do not have access, and $697 million to improve water infrastructure to ensure it’s clean and safe
“Some of this is just work the government should have been doing for the last three decades, fixing water systems, fixing bridges that are crumbling that’s just work that has to happen but also it’s investing in our future,” Yarbro said.
But while some are dissuaded by the $1.2 trillion price tag, Senator Yarbro, a Davidson County Democrat said the investment is necessary. “Not having functional roads, bridges, airports — that cost too much, not having people in your community able to actually participate in the modern economy that cost a lot these are investments you have to make.”
The bill also calls for $21 million to protect against cyber-attacks and $17 million for wildfires.