TDOT projects could see delays if federal funding runs out

TDOT projects could see delays if federal funding runs out

Posted:
A lack of federal funding may end up delaying road projects in East Tennessee. A lack of federal funding may end up delaying road projects in East Tennessee.
"A project going from the design phase to right of way phase or from right of way to construction, those areas may be delayed,” TDOT Region 1 Director Steve Borden said. "A project going from the design phase to right of way phase or from right of way to construction, those areas may be delayed,” TDOT Region 1 Director Steve Borden said.
By SAMANTHA MANNING
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - A lack of federal funding may end up delaying road projects in East Tennessee.

The Highway Trust Fund is running out of money and Tuesday the House passed a stop-gap measure.

Related story: House passes highway bill as deadline looms

A vote is pending on a similar bill in the Senate, but unless more action action is taken by Aug. 1, state projects will see cuts.

If the funding is not replenished in time, the Tennessee Department of Transportation said it will operate with less than 50 percent of its budget, going from $1.8 billion to around $900 million.

If the funding runs out, 13 projects statewide will be delayed, including three in East Tennessee.

"A project going from the design phase to right of way phase or from right of way to construction, those areas may be delayed,” TDOT Region 1 Director Steve Borden said.

The three East Tennessee projects risking a delay are construction projects on State Route 29 in Roane and Morgan Counties and State Route 32 in Cocke County.

Borden says construction projects that have already started will be completed regardless of federal funding.

“You see cranes out there, you see the construction equipment, those projects will continue and we'll complete those," Borden said.

The problem all has to do with funding for the Highway Trust Fund.

The gas tax has remained unchanged for more than 20 years, leaving a shortfall for the federal funds.

Sen. Bob Corker has proposed increasing the gas tax by 12 cents.

Borden said even if the cuts are made, upkeep and safety measures will remain in effect.

“We're still going to be doing our maintenance work,” Borden said. “We're still going to be doing our safety work. Our bridge inspections are still going to go on but the size of and number of projects that may get delivered may lessen somewhat."

Borden said Tennessee is one of four states that do not borrow money to pay for infrastructure.

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