Lawmakers get thanks as governor signs IMPROVE Act at statewide stops

(Photo: WKRN)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Governor Bill Haslam said thanks to Tennessee lawmakers Monday as he went around the state signing his IMPROVE Act.

The bill sets up a new way to fund Tennessee roads while cutting some business taxes and reducing the state sales tax on food from 5 percent to 4 percent.

“This is a really big deal for the state of Tennessee,” he told reporters gathered at an overpass above potholed marked Interstate 440 in Nashville. “I am grateful for the legislators who hung in there with us. Obviously a bill like this is not easy.”

(Photo: WKRN)

It was one of the three stops for the IMPROVE Act ceremonial signing, which included freeway interchanges in Chattanooga and Union City.

On July 1, the state’s gas tax goes from 20 cents per gallon to 24 cents. It will go up by next year and, in 2019, by a penny before capping at a 6-cent a gallon increase.

Truckers see a 4-cent a gallon diesel increase this coming July 1 followed by a three cent increase in 2018 and 2019 before it is capped.

The governor’s tour included the House and Senate Transportation Committee Chairs.

At the Nashville stop, they were joined by Mayor Megan Barry and the Democratic state lawmakers who represent the I-440 area.