Tennessee waiting on unfilled infrastructure promises from Washington

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Despite the IMPROVE Act with this year’s gas tax increase for Tennessee, funding infrastructure like news roads is still an issue, says the state’s Department of Transportation Commissioner.

John Schroer says the problem is Washington’s lack of action on an overall infrastructure bill.

“They keep talking about funding infrastructure, but they keep pushing it back.” the commissioner said his department’s budget hearings before Governor Bill Haslam on Wednesday morning.

This comes as the IMPROVE Act raised the state’s gas and diesel tax for the first time in decades on July 1 so that nearly a thousand projects statewide can be built.

The commissioner points also to the campaign promise of President Trump for an infrastructure bill.

“I don’t think we have been funding infrastructure in a manner in which we should and in transportation we have not changed federally since 1993,” says Schroer.

During the hearing, the commissioners top engineers and budget men spoke of a potential problem in a few years.

Tennessee could lose 178 million dollars yearly unless congress acts to restore federal funding from certain highway programs that could be lost by 2020.

“We are going to look at how we do that or there is going to be a whole lot of burden on the state by themselves,” added the commissioner.

That’s a wary eye for future funding, but the good news from t-dot is that more than a quarter of those IMPROVE Act projects are underway one now.

In December, TDOT says it will award the largest number of contracts in its history because of the IMPROVE Act.