CBS » President Trump is calling for a $1.5 trillion infrastructure package that would likely redirect $200 million in existing funds from Amtrak and transit programs while calling for hundreds of millions more from cities, states and the private sector. Fifteen states don’t even allow such private investment in projects, while tolling is illegal in others.
National Association of State Highway and Transportation Unions » The Tennessee Department of Transportation reported last month that it has saved $54 million since FY 2012 by shedding engineering consultants in favor of hiring more staff. During a budget hearing, transportation Commissioner John Schroer said that contracting private-sector firms to perform engineering work is four times the cost to complete the same tasks with department-employed engineers.
NewsChannel 9 (Nashville) » The money for the I-24/I-75 split fix – which state Transportation Commissioner John Schroer calls “one of the most expensive projects we will do” – comes from a bill signed by Governor Bill Haslam back in April that raises the gas tax by 7 cents on the dollar to help pay for highway projects. It’s the first gas tax increase in the state since 1989, and will pay for 962 road projects across the state.
The Tennessean » The Senate plan keeps in place a gas tax increase, albeit a smaller one than Gov. Bill Haslam originally proposed, that would be phased in over time. The Senate plan also reduces the state’s tax on groceries, eliminates a proposed fee on rental cars, cuts a controversial aspect related to indexing and provides tax relief to the elderly disabled veterans.