Op-Ed by Laura Berlind & Jim Bryson
March 3, 2017 — Ten billion dollars would pay for a lot of roads and bridges — but not as many as it used to, and only if we had it. That’s the basic dilemma confronting state policymakers looking for a way to fund the $10.5 billion backlog of projects already approved or identified as needed by the Tennessee Department of Transportation.
Tennessee takes a “pay as you go” approach to highway funding. That means two things: we don’t borrow money to build roads, and we don’t build roads unless we have money dedicated to pay for them. As lawmakers consider where to get that money, they should also understand how we got to this point.