Tennessee Needs at Least $62.9 Billion Worth of Public Infrastructure Improvements

Tuesday, February 14, 2023 | 01:45pm
Infrastructure Report Cover

NASHVILLE—Tennessee needs at least $62.9 billion worth of public infrastructure improvements during the five-year period of July 2021 to June 2026—a $1.2 billion (2.0%) increase from the year before—according to a new report by the Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations (TACIR).  Infrastructure needs for Transportation and Utilities increased for the seventh year in a row ($750 million) and continues to be the largest category in the inventory, with $35.2 billion in total needs (56.1% of the inventory).  Increases in the cost of existing road projects ($1.1 billion) and the cost of new road projects ($405 million) was offset by $752 million in completed road projects.  Nashville International Airport’s reported needs for Concourse A represent the largest increase in transportation needs for an individual project at $155 million, and its needs for Concourse D represent the largest new transportation project ($245 million).

The $669 million increase in needed improvements for Health, Safety, and Welfare infrastructure also contributed to the overall increase in the total estimated cost of the inventory.  Most of this increase is from the $305 million rise in needed improvements for water and wastewater, which included $373 million in new projects alone.

Needs also increased for General Government ($83 million) and Recreation and Culture ($15 million).  Reported needs decreased in two categories: Education ($259 million) and Economic Development ($37 million).

Information about funding for public infrastructure needs reported by officials indicates that 67.8% 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 67.5%.  Excluding improvements needed at existing schools and those drawn from capital budget requests submitted by state agencies—neither of which includes funding information—only $15.4 billion in funding is available for the remaining $47.6 billion in needs.

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

  • Transportation and Utilities:  $35.2 billion
  • Education:  $14.8 billion
  •  Health, Safety, and Welfare:  $8.9 billion
  • Recreation and Culture:  $2.3 billion
  • General Government:  $1.3 billion
  •  Economic Development:  $246 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-2021-2026.html.

For more information, contact Tyler Carpenter, Research 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.