The Tennessee Conservative Staff –
A new plan released by the Tennessee Department of Transportation shows one of their possible “choice lanes” could be located on I-24 in Chattanooga.
The plan was presented to state legislators on Monday morning as a part of their potential 10-year infrastructure project. According to TDOT, the entire project will cost approximately $15 billion.
TDOT says drivers will be able to pay to use the new toll lanes as a way to “maintain consistent travel speeds” even when traffic is heavy in other lanes on the roadway. Typically, motorists are able to drive at around 50 miles per hour during peak rush hour traffic.
No announcement has been made regarding the cost of using the toll lane, although TDOT has said that there will be regulation regarding fees. They will use dynamic pricing, which means the cost will vary according to the level of the traffic at the time.
“There will be safeguards to ensure that whoever is operating these roads will not be able to charge whatever they want to, there’s going to be oversight in that process,” said TDOT.
Nashville and Knoxville are also slated as locations for choice lanes. Nashville is expected to be the home of the first one, running along I-24 from downtown Nashville to Murfreesboro.
TDOT Commissioner Butch Eley says this location was selected for the initial project because it is the area that will most likely pay for itself quickest and it will have “the maximum advantage for taxpayers in Tennessee.”
The department also says that the use of funding from the Transportation Moderation Act will also help them to better allocate funds to rural areas.
“TDOT’s Choice Lanes will leverage Public-Private Partnerships (P3s) authorized by the TMA, freeing up state funds to support projects in rural Tennessee,” the department says.
According to the department, the $15 billion price tag will cover 93 different projects. These projects also include widening of I-24 and Route 317 in Hamilton County, as well as investment in the I-24 Corridor and enhancements to State Route 8, State Route 320, and the I-75/I-24 split.
Critics have raised complaints that toll roads would be constructed without input from local officials after Governor Lee and other legislators appointed a five-member board with the power to authorize the building and operation of the lanes.
Others argue that toll lanes allow private entities to profit off of payments from working individuals who must travel the roadways to their jobs.