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Tennessee Tollway Act

Background: Why the Legislation was Passed

Funding Issues

  • 12% inflation in construction costs means buying fewer lane miles with the same amount of money.
  • Higher gas prices and more fuel efficient cars mean less gas is being consumed and therefore less gas tax is being paid.
  • Gas tax revenues increase only about 1% a year.
  • Tennessee’s federal highway funds have been cut approximately $153 million in the past year.
  • This year, no new road projects have been announced, as there is only money available to work on current projects.
  • Soon, there will only be enough highway funds to maintain the roads Tennessee already has.
  • Federal highway funds are decreasing, necessitating more funding at the state level.
  • 26 states currently have toll roads.

Opportunities Offered by Tolling

  • Toll roads will give Tennessee and TDOT another option to meet the state’s growing transportation needs.
  • Tolls will only be collected on highways where traffic can adequately pay for the road.
  • The trucking and shipping industry loses $20 billion every year due to congestion. That cost is passed on to customers.  It is cheaper and more environmentally friendly to run a truck at 55 mph moving down the highway on a toll lane than having it sitting in traffic.
  • With tolls bearing some of the cost to construct and operate new highways and bridges, funds from traditional revenue sources may be made available to invest in mass transit, the construction of non-toll highways, and the maintenance of existing infrastructure.
  • The time frame for toll project development may be shorter than the traditional "pay as you go" approach.  A project selected for tolling can often be brought to fruition faster than if it is funded with traditional highway funds.