NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Tennesseans will soon be able to see transportation projects accelerated throughout the state instead of waiting for them.
It’s all thanks to the bi-partisan infrastructure package on President Joe Biden’s desk — the $1 trillion investment will send millions over five years to the Volunteer State.
While the rules and legislation are still being poured over, the Tennessee Department of Transportation expects about $6.5 billion will be made available to address and reimagine hard infrastructure in the state.
“Certainly, traditional highway roads and bridges, there’s a transit component, there are also some pretty significant increases of what a lot of have historically considered no traditional transportation which is becoming more mainstream in Tennessee,” said Paul Degges, Deputy Commissioner and Chief Engineer at TDOT.
The money is coming from the bi-partisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act which every Tennessee Republican voted against.
- $5.8 billion for federal-aid highway apportioned programs
- This represents an increase of approximately $1.35 billion in federal-aid highway apportionment to TDOT over five years.
- $302 million for bridge replacement
- This is a new bridge program providing an additional $60 million per year on average. TDOT can also compete for the $12.5 billion Bridge Investment Program for economically significant bridges and nearly $16 billion of national funding dedicated for major projects that will deliver substantial economic benefits to communities.
- $630 million to improve public transportation options across the state
- $88 million to support the expansion of an electric vehicle (EV) charging network in the state
- This is a new program providing an additional $17.6 million per year on average. Tennessee will also have the opportunity to apply for the $2.5 billion in grant funding dedicated to EV charging in the bill.
- $300 million for infrastructure development for airports over five years
“The real thing we’re going to be able to do with these dollars is kind of two-fold. In the urbanized areas of the state, it’s going to really solve the congestion issues. Our customers tell us, ‘look, we get it you have to do highway construction but do things that manage congestion,’” Degges said.
Rural areas aren’t left out of proposed infrastructure plans.
“In the rural areas of the state, it’s a little bit of a different issue in that it’s about access so rural communities need access to markets — farm to market type roads,” Degges added.
And projects could be funded sooner rather than later with funds arriving in a matter of weeks after the president signs it.
“In fact, we have projects in our December bid opening that will be funded out of these dollars so we already have projects in the hopper and lined up all across the state,” Degges said.
The funding is about a 20% increase from the last funding program.