Options for improving Tennessee roads include P3s
The governor of Tennessee has presented a statewide transportation plan that includes public-private partnerships (P3) for “choice lanes.” Drivers would have paid access to these lanes during times of heavy traffic congestion. The funds from the choice lanes would allow the state to meet its transportation needs without raising taxes or taking on new debt.
According to the plan, it takes the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) an average of 15 years to deliver a project that exceeds costs of 40% over budget due to the length of the project and getting it through the development phase. Tennessee’s growth is far outpacing roadway capacity investments.
This P3 proposal aims to amend legislation to give TDOT more authority to speed up the process of road work. At no point does TDOT not own these lanes. They will be leased out to investors.
Funding in the amount of $26 billion is needed over-and-above the 2017 IMPROVE Act to address both urban and rural congestion in Tennessee. This includes nearly $14 billion in the four major urban areas — Nashville, Memphis, Chattanooga and Knoxville – and over $12 billion on Tennessee’s rural interstates.
The 2017 IMPROVE “Improving Manufacturing, Public Roads and Opportunities for a Vibrant Economy Act” or the “2017 Tax Cut Act,” is described as providing the largest tax cuts in Tennessee history. It contains some of the most significant modifications to Tennessee tax law since the 2015 Revenue Modernization Act.