Federal Highway Trust Fund Shortfall Slows Local Road Projects

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Southbound traffic on I-55 near Crump Boulevard
  • TDOT
  • Southbound traffic on I-55 near Crump Boulevard

Two Shelby County highway projects — improvements to the Crump interchange on I-55 and improvements to State Route-4 from the Mississippi state line to south of Shelby Drive — have been delayed to fiscal year 2016. Both Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) projects were originally scheduled for delivery in fiscal year 2015.

Revenues in the federal highway trust fund have fallen short of the expenditures authorized by the U.S. Congress. And that has caused the TDOT to have to delay highway projects across the state. TDOT has been transferring some general funds to support projects, but a letter from TDOT Commissioner John C. Schroer to the Tennessee General Assembly calls that practice "not sustainable."

Twelve state projects ready for construction totaling $177 million and 21 projects ready for right-of-way acquisition totaling $217 million have been shifted to fiscal year 2016.

"While these projects are only delayed and not cancelled, they represent almost $400 million in transportation investments and could be helping to modernize our transportation network and reducing congestion and making Tennessee a more attractive destination for economic expansion," reads Schroer's letter.

TDOT has said the Crump interchange on I-55 is "structurally deficient, out of date, and creates multiple safety and efficiency problems."

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