TCSA 2017 Legislative Platform
The continued lack of funding for county highway projects has reached a critical point in Tennessee as state gasoline/fuel tax collections remain consistently stagnant. At the state level, the Administration has identified more than a $6 billion backlog of needed transportation projects. County highway departments are continuing to scale back or cancel resurfacing projects and reduce staffing until additional revenues become available. As a part of the overall Tennessee transportation system, county roads and bridges are an integral part of the state's economic and community development success, the impact it has on safe and efficient transportation of school children, the essential element in providing emergency services to our taxpayers, and the daily life value it adds to the citizens of our counties. The vast majority of vehicle trips in Tennessee begin and end on a road maintained by a local government. The association asks that the General Assembly recognize and support the important role county government highway departments play in the success of the overall state transportation system.
TCSA urges the General Assembly to enact an adequate, multi-faceted funding solution for Tennessee's transportation needs based on usage of the transportation system that includes a measurable growth component to ensure that funding of our critical infrastructure is sustainable in the long term. We encourage the General Assembly to maintain the current balance of funding between different functions and different levels of government as any funding improvements are made.
We encourage the state of Tennessee to maintain its current "pay-as-you-go" strategy and urge the General Assembly to avoid issuing debt to address transportation needs.
We oppose general reliance on toll funding to support the state's overall strategy for transportation infrastructure.
TCSA is appreciative of the restoration of $142 million to the transportation fund that was diverted to the general fund under a prior administration, including the restoration of money diverted from the state aid program. These funds have allowed counties to address some of the critical needs for resurfacing projects that have been delayed. At this time of continuing general fund surpluses, we ask that the remainder of these funds be restored to the transportation fund. However, we urge the Administration and General Assembly not to consider this one-time restoration a fix to a long-term funding shortfall.
TCSA is appreciative of legislation that authorized a reduced match on the critical state aid and bridge grant programs and asks that the window of the reduced match for state aid be extended as the bridge grant was to ensure all counties have an opportunity to take advantage of the program.
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