Tennessee Could See Highway Toll Lanes After $3.3B Transportation Bill Signed

Photo: Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee signs into law the state’s transportation budget, which includes provisions to create toll roads in the state. Photo Credit: Photo courtesy of the Office of the Governor of Tennessee

The Center Square [By Jon Styf] –

Tennessee could soon start receiving proposals for toll lanes after the Legislature approved and Gov. Bill Lee signed what he referred to as the Transportation Modernization Act.

The bill allows the Tennessee Department of Transportation to negotiate deals for private companies to add lanes to Tennessee highways and make those toll lanes, with the private company collecting tolls to recoup their portion of negotiated project costs.

New Creations Construction

The bill also put a one-time $3.3 billion into a fund to cover road infrastructure improvements across the state, with the plan being for that funding to be divided equally among the state’s three grand divisions.

“This will do so without raising taxes, without issuing road debt and without spending a disproportionate amount of funds in our urban areas to the detriment of our rural communities,” Sen. Becky Duncan Massey, R-Knoxville, said as the bill passed the Senate.

Massey explained in committee that terms on the toll lanes will be negotiated, giving an example of an 80% to 20% split of road construction costs with a private company paying the larger portion and then getting the first dollars that come in from tolls.

The companies cannot be from four restricted countries – China, Iran, North Korea and Russia. The company will lease the lanes and the state will retain ownership.

2023 Annual Campaign

“As families and businesses move to Tennessee in record numbers, we need a transportation plan to keep up with the pace,” Lee said in a statement after signing the bill. “Our strategy will meet our state’s transportation needs across rural and urban communities, without new taxes or debt. I commend the General Assembly for its partnership to prepare Tennessee for continued growth and economic opportunity.”

The bill, which went into effect immediately April 17, will mean electric vehicles owners will be charged a $200 registration fee starting next year that will rise to $274 and then begin rising with the consumer price index up to 3% annually starting in 2027. Hybrid vehicles will begin at $100 and rise in cost starting in 2027.

About the Author: Jon Styf, The Center Square Staff Reporter – Jon Styf is an award-winning editor and reporter who has worked in Illinois, Texas, Wisconsin, Florida and Michigan in local newsrooms over the past 20 years, working for Shaw Media, Hearst and several other companies. Follow Jon on Twitter @JonStyf.

2 thoughts on “Tennessee Could See Highway Toll Lanes After $3.3B Transportation Bill Signed

  • April 28, 2023 at 6:06 pm

    Yup, lanes for the wealthy.

  • April 30, 2023 at 5:48 pm

    70 years ago the state of Illinois did the same thing with the promise it would be paid off in ten years at 10 cents a toll, today it cost about $15 to go the same distance. Lol…the same will happen to the citizenry of Tn. Gov Lee is not a conservative he is a RINO.


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