Sevierville construction company could face layoffs in wake of d

Sevierville construction company could face layoffs in wake of depleting highway funds

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The federal Highway Trust Fund is running out of money and construction projects across Tennessee and the country could be affected. The federal Highway Trust Fund is running out of money and construction projects across Tennessee and the country could be affected.
"It’s real scary,” Melissa Hurd said. “You don't know if you come into work and the next day you may be getting sent home because they're out of money." "It’s real scary,” Melissa Hurd said. “You don't know if you come into work and the next day you may be getting sent home because they're out of money."
"It would be devastating,” Doug Blalock said. “It would be very difficult for our county and it would be very difficult for our entire region." "It would be devastating,” Doug Blalock said. “It would be very difficult for our county and it would be very difficult for our entire region."
Blalock said the company employs about 600 people and if the federal funding runs out, the company would eventually have to lay off a third or more of its workers. Blalock said the company employs about 600 people and if the federal funding runs out, the company would eventually have to lay off a third or more of its workers.
By SAMANTHA MANNING
6 News Reporter

SEVIERVILLE (WATE) - A Sevierville construction company told 6 News if Congress does not act fast, it could be forced to lay off hundreds of workers.

The federal Highway Trust Fund is running out of money and construction projects across Tennessee and the country could be affected.

Previous story: TDOT projects could see delays if federal funding runs out

Blalock Companies, based in Sevierville, is a construction business that works on bridges and roads.

Blalock's corporate secretary Doug Blalock said Tennessee Department of Transportation projects account for more than half of the company’s work.

After TDOT announced it may have to delay 13 projects statewide, including three in East Tennessee, Blalock workers said they worry they may be out of a job if the funds are not replenished.


Melissa Hurd is a truck operator for Blalock and helps support her two grandchildren with her income.

Hurd said she worries about ending up unemployed.

"It’s real scary,” Hurd said. “You don't know if you come into work and the next day you may be getting sent home because they're out of money."

Blalock said the company employs about 600 people and if the federal funding runs out, the company would eventually have to lay off a third or more of its workers.

"It would be devastating,” Blalock said. “It would be very difficult for our county and it would be very difficult for our entire region."

Earlier this week, the U.S. House of Representatives  passed a bill that is a temporary fix for the depleting Highway Trust Fund.

Democrats are pushing for a long-term plan which includes a gas tax increase.

Sen. Bob Corker has also proposed increasing the gas tax by 12 cents over the next two years.

Blalock said he agrees the increase is needed to ensure the roads continue to be maintained and to keep the local economy intact.

“The roads are safer so our school buses can get to school safe,” Blalock said. “Our bridges are safe. Also, the cost of goods and services at the grocery store is maintained because the cost of transportation is not as high. It is a ripple effect that is felt by all of us."

"I hope they do the right decision and keep building roads and bridges,” Hurd said.
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