AEM - Association of Equipment Manufacturers

04/07/2024 | News release | Distributed by Public on 04/07/2024 09:19

The Road NOT Less Traveled: How Tennessee is Welcoming Population Growth Through Historic Infrastructure Investments

It is no secret that Tennessee is one of the fastest growing states in the nation. Due to the pro-business environment and the high quality of life that individuals enjoy, the state is attracting many top companies and over 120 individuals per day to the Nashville area alone. This rapid population growth has put enormous stress on the state's roadways.

Led by Governor Bill Lee and Department of Transportation Commissioner Butch Eley, the Tennessee legislature has taken a significant step in improving the state's roadways to continue the trend of attracting top businesses and fostering a high quality of life for its citizens. Signed into law in April of 2023, the Tennessee Transportation Modernization Act (TMA) represents a significant shift in the state's approach to infrastructure development and funding. The TMA aims to accommodate Tennessee's rapid growth and the resulting transportation needs without raising taxes or incurring new debt.

With infrastructure investment and improvements at the forefront of the Legislature's priorities, it was fitting that the World of Asphaltshow was hosted in Nashville in late March. AEM's State Advocacy team was privileged to host Governor Lee's Chief of Policy, Michael Hendrix, on the show floor to provide insight into our industry and to give members the opportunity to learn more about the proactive measures that Tennessee has taken to expand and improve their infrastructure. We thank Hendrix for joining us. Governor Lee's efforts clearly send the message to our members that Tennessee is open for business and that the state has answered their transportation needs with a historic investment measure.

Key Features of the Transportation Modernization Act:

  • $3.3 Billion Investment:The act invests a substantial $3.3 billion to address traffic congestion and meet transportation needs across both rural and urban communities.
  • Public-Private Partnerships:The TMA expands opportunities for alternative project delivery by granting the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) the authority to engage in P3 agreements. Most notably, Tennessee has engaged in P3 agreements to construct choice-lanes to free up congested, urban highways. This partnership frees up state funds for more projects in rural communities.
  • Innovative Project Prioritization: TDOT has innovated its project prioritization process, developing its first-ever 10-Year Project Plan that will ensure that the states roadways continue to improve and expand for years to come.
  • Funding Structure: TMA is a proactive measure to prepare Tennessee for continued growth and economic opportunity, with a focus on improving mobility and infrastructure without compromising the state's pay-as-you-go funding system or taking on new debt or raising tax rates.

This act is a testament to Tennessee's commitment to modernizing its transportation system in a fiscally responsible manner, setting a precedent for other states to follow in the pursuit of sustainable infrastructure development. We commend the Tennessee Legislature for creating an environment where our members will continue to thrive. To learn more about the Transportation Modernization Act, please visit Transportation Modernization Act (

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