NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Governor Bill Lee is laying the groundwork to modernize Tennessee’s roads and is pouring billions of dollars into the plan.
During Monday’s State of the State address, the governor outlined his Transportation & Infrastructure Modernization Act:
• $3B to the Transportation Modernization Fund to alleviate urban congestion and fund rural road projects across the state ($750M allocated to each of TN’s four TDOT regions)
• $300M to expand the State Aid Program for local road projects
• Proposing new comprehensive legislation centering on Alternative Delivery Models, Public-Private Partnerships, Electric/Hybrid Vehicle Fees
During a TDOT hearing Tuesday morning, several representatives asked the transportation commission for clarification on one of Lee’s tactics, choice lanes.
The commission said choice lanes are new, separate lanes that drivers can choose to travel on for a fee. They said these could relieve congestion on the highways and ensure reliable travel times.
Commissioner Butch Eley said the cost for choice lane drivers is still being determined, but pricing would fluctuate based on demand.
They said drivers will still have the option to drive on general roadway, free of charge.
A toll road, on the other hand, requires all drivers to pay a fee.
Eley said the choice lanes will be built and maintained with dollars from public-private partnerships.
“We’re one of the few states, and really one of the only states in the Southeast, that really do not have these public-private partnerships that will allow us to do the choice lanes,” Eley said.
Lee said choice lanes have been successful in other states, including Virginia, Georgia, and North Carolina, and can help get Tennessee up to speed.