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Tennessee Needs at Least $58.6 Billion of Public Infrastructure Improvements

Monday, January 25, 2021 | 01:30pm
Building Tennessee's Tomorrow Cover

NASHVILLE—Tennessee needs at least $58.6 billion worth of public infrastructure improvements during the five-year period of July 2019 to June 2024—a $3.8 billion (6.9%) increase from the year before—according to a new report by the Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations (TACIR). Of the $3.8 billion increase in infrastructure needs reported in this year’s inventory, almost $3.0 billion (80.1%) is attributable to increases in the estimated cost for transportation and utilities, followed by general government (16.1%). Infrastructure needs for transportation and utilities, which increased for the fifth year in a row, increased this year by $3.0 billion mainly because of new road and sidewalk projects.

The $608 million increase in needed improvements for general government infrastructure also contributed to the overall increase in the total estimated cost of the inventory. Most of this increase is from the $586 million increase in needed improvements at public buildings, while the need for improvements at other facilities increased $22 million. The State Government was responsible for over $615 million in new projects, and approximately $252 million is needed for renovations at state buildings in Nashville.

The estimated cost was also up in two categories— recreation and culture ($113 million) and health, safety and welfare ($86 million). Reported needs decreased in two categories: education ($42 million) and economic development, down $14 million compared to last year.

Information about funding for public infrastructure needs reported by officials indicates that 65.1% of the funds required to meet those needs was not available at the time the inventory was conducted, relatively unchanged from last year’s 67.0%. Excluding improvements needed at existing schools and those drawn from capital budget requests submitted by state agencies, neither of which includes funding information, only $15.5 billion in funding is available for the remaining $44.3 billion in needs.

Total estimated costs for current infrastructure needs fall into six general categories:

  • Transportation and Utilities: $32.8 billion
  • Education: $14.2 billion
  • Health, Safety, and Welfare: $7.7 billion
  • Recreation and Culture: $2.2 billion
  • General Government: $1.5 billion
  • Economic Development: $286 million

For each county, the report includes one-page summaries, which list the estimated cost for all types of needed infrastructure in each county by stage of development, highlight the top three types of infrastructure improvements needed in each county based on the total estimated cost, and provide comparisons of the infrastructure needed at public school systems to student enrollment

The full report is available on TACIR’s web site at https://www.tn.gov/tacir/infrastructure/infrastructure-reports-/building-tennessee-s-tomorrow-2019-2024.html

For more information, contact Rabia Chaudhry, Project Manager, at rabia.chaudhry@tn.gov or 615.253.4240.

TACIR Mission

TACIR’s mission is to serve as a forum for the discussion and resolution of intergovernmental problems; provide high-quality research support to state and local government officials in order to improve the overall quality of government in Tennessee and to improve the effectiveness of the intergovernmental system to serve the citizens of Tennessee better.