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News Release
28 May 2002

226 Capitol Boulevard Bldg.
Suite 508
Nashville, Tennessee  37243-0760

Contact: Casey Dungan
Senior Research Associate
Phone: 615/741-2955
Fax: 615/532-2443



Education and Transportation Represent Almost 60% of Total

NASHVILLE, TN, May 28 – The Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations (TACIR) released a new report today indicating that Tennessee needs at least $20 billion in public infrastructure projects to be in some stage of development during the five-year period of 2001-2006.  The report is based on an information provided by state and local officials with the assistance of the state's nine development districts.  Some of the projects are funded and under construction, but many are not.  TACIR Executive Director Dr. Harry Green said that the report represents a "goldmine of useful information for state and local officials and planners as they attempt to build the future of their communities."


Text Box: Reported Infrastructure Needs 2001-2006
Transportation & Utilities$8.3 billion	Education$4.8 billion
Health, Safety & Welfare$4.4 billion	Recreation & Culture$1.7 billion
Economic Development$878 million	General Government$353 million
Grand Total	$20.5 billion


This year’s report, which is the third in a series on public infrastructure needs, is the first to include projects requested by state agencies for the current fiscal year.  Most of these projects were not included in the state’s recommended budget because of the state’s budget crunch.  Among them were $11.7 million in major renovations of the National Guard Armories, $28 million to address security, health, and safety needs at state prisons,  $37 million in renovations and improvements for state parks, and $1.1 billion in new construction, upgrades, and renovations for the campuses of the state’s public higher education institutions.


TACIR analysis indicates that the quality of the information reported in the inventory continues to improve.  In the 2001 report, the gap between needs as reported by local officials and needs as estimated by TACIR analysts was $2.8 billion.  This year that gap was cut almost in half to $1.5 billion as a result of improved reporting by local officials.  “Each year the information collected by this project becomes more and more reliable, which makes the public infrastructure

inventory project even more relevant to citizens and local officials,” observed Senator Robert Rochelle, TACIR Chairman.


Other Highlights of the Report


·         Transportation and utilities remain the single largest category of infrastructure need with a total of $8.3 billion, representing about 40 percent of reported needs and increasing $900 million since the 2001 report.  Transportation alone represents 35 percent of the grand total at $7.1 billion. 

·         The education category ranks second at $4.8 billion and accounts for approximately 23 percent of the state’s infrastructure needs.  The category increased over $930 million since the 2001 report as a result of the inclusion of the state’s higher education facilities needs.  Elementary and secondary education needs still represent the lion’s share of education needs at $3.5 billion and 17 percent of the total.

·         According to local school officials participating in the report, one in four elementary and secondary schools is in fair or poor condition.  The estimated cost to put them in good condition is $1.5 billion.

·         All schools met the state’s smaller class size mandates, but many do not have a sufficient number of adequate classrooms to accommodate the additional teachers and classes.  The estimated cost to provide adequate classrooms is $907 million.  These funds are in addition to those required to accommodate population growth.

·         Health, safety, and welfare needs represented the third largest category at $4.4 billion and accounts for 21 percent of the state’s infrastructure needs.  Water and wastewater needs total $2.9 billion or 14 percent of the grand total.


·         The greatest infrastructure needs are in counties with the largest population gains.  The ten counties that reported the greatest infrastructure needs in dollar terms are also the ten counties with the largest population gains during the 1990s.  Shelby, Rutherford, Davidson, and Knox counties were the top four counties in both population gain and total infrastructure needs.  Hamilton County ranked eighth in population gain and fifth in total infrastructure needs.


·         Reported infrastructure needs have grown 50 percent since the first inventory in 1998.  The total infrastructure needs reported in 1998 totaled $13.7 billion. This increase is a result of better reporting by local officials and the addition to the inventory of needs identified by state agencies, as well as population growth.


The full report can be found on TACIR’s web site at


TACIR Mission

TACIR’s mission is to serve as a forum for the discussion and resolution of intergovernmental problems; provide high quality research support to state and local government officials in order to improve the overall quality of government in Tennessee; and to improve the effectiveness of the intergovernmental system to better serve the citizens of Tennessee.


TACIR's home page