Report Suggests Highway Contract Reform - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

NewsChannel 5 Investigates: High-Dollar Highways

Report Suggests Highway Contract Reform

(Story created: 1/31/05)

A new development in our NewsChannel 5 investigation of Tennessee's "High Dollar Highways." A new report says state legislators may want to consider a new law to help protect taxpayers.

At issue: the cost of asphalt.

Many local governments are being stuck with high bills because contractors virtually control the market in some areas.

But a law pushed by road builders makes it illegal for counties to operate their own asphalt plants.

Now, the state comptroller's office says that should change.

"It all depends on what they want for their taxpayers, what they are willing to spend their money for," says Rodney Carmical, executive director of the Tennessee County Highway Officials Association.

"And that's all we're saying. That local governments should have a right to choose what they think is best for their taxpayers."

So far, however, no senator has agreed to sponsor the bill.

The lobbyist for the Tennessee Road Builders Association had a different take on the report.

"The comptroller's report does an excellent job of explaining the risks to taxpayers of allowing local governments to operate their own plants," said TRBA Executive Vice President Kent Starwalt.

The report can be found at: www.comptroller.state.tn.us/orea/reports/asphalt.pdf

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