Tennessee Needs at Least $61.9 Billion of Public Infrastructure Improvements

Friday, February 04, 2022 | 08:41am
Building Tennessee's Tomorrow Cover

NASHVILLE—Tennessee needs at least $61.9 billion worth of public infrastructure improvements during the five-year period of July 2020 to June 2025—a $3.4 billion (5.7%) increase from the year before—according to a new report by the Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations (TACIR).  Of the $3.4 billion increase in infrastructure needs reported in this year’s inventory, just over $2.0 billion (60.2%) is attributable to increases in the estimated cost for Transportation and Utilities, followed by $978 million (29.4%) for increases in the cost of Education.  Infrastructure needs for Transportation and Utilities increased for the sixth year in a row.  Increases in the cost of road projects ($1.5 billion) and an increase in new road projects ($1.1 billion) attributed to the overall increase of transportation infrastructure, though these costs were offset by $521 million in completed road projects.  Additionally, Nashville reports needing high capacity bus rapid transit at a cost of $506 million.

The $978 million increase in needed improvements for Education infrastructure is also attributable to the overall increase in the total estimated cost of the inventory.  Most of this increase is from the $1 billion rise in needed improvements for post-secondary Education, while the need for school renovations increased by $141 million.  The increase in the estimated cost of needed improvements to post-secondary education stems mainly from $1.6 billion in new projects.

Needs also increased for Health, Safety, and Welfare ($575 million), which is attributable to a 42% increase in law enforcement projects ($601 million), and Recreation and Culture ($7 million).  Reported needs decreased in two categories: General Government ($210 million) and Economic Development ($9 million).

Information about funding for public infrastructure needs reported by officials indicates that 67.4% of the funds required to meet those needs was not available at the time the inventory was conducted—this was relatively unchanged from last year’s 65.1%. Excluding improvements needed at existing schools and those drawn from capital budget requests submitted by state agencies—neither of which includes funding information—only $15.1 billion in funding is available for the remaining $46.3 billion in needs.

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

  • Transportation and Utilities:  $34.7 billion
  • Education:  $15.2 billion
  • Health, Safety, and Welfare:  $8.3 billion
  • Recreation and Culture:  $2.3 billion
  • General Government:  $1.3 billion
  • Economic Development:  $277 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-2020-2025.html.

For more information, contact Tyler Carpenter, Project Manager, at Tyler.Carpenter@tn.gov or 615.253.4095.

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.