How the infrastructure bill will benefit Tennessee roads

TDOT Begins Patching I-440 Potholes
Posted at 1:14 PM, Nov 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-08 14:14:10-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The rate of orange barrels along highways could increase in Tennessee with an influx of money coming from the nation's infrastructure bill.

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act transportation plan will head to President Joe Biden's desk after the House of Representatives passed the $1 trillion deal. While Tennessee Democrats — Jim Cooper and Steve Cohen — backed the bill, all of the states Republican leaders voted it down. U.S. Senators Marsha Blackburn and Bill Hagerty also announced their displeasure for the plan. Though the current $1.85 trillion price tag is still high, it's about half the size of the original $3.5 trillion price tag.

However, Tennessee has pages worth of projects the Tennessee Department of Transportation is trying to accomplish. Some of the 962 initiatives found support in the 2017 IMPROVE Act, one of the last actions taken by Gov. Bill Haslam during his tenure leading the state. In order for the IMPROVE Act to work, Haslam and other leaders came up with increasing the gas tax but cutting sales tax on groceries.

For the new money from the federal government, the state will receive $5.8 billion for federal-aid highway apportioned programs. This represents an increase of approximately $1.35 billion in federal-aid highway apportionment to TDOT over five years, according to agency officials. TDOT will rank the projects as the agency usually does.

"It will follow our current three-year plan process for identifying projects — as part of our annual budget that gets passed by the state legislature — that are ready to be funded in either the preliminary engineering, right of way, or construction phases and based on the funding available," TDOT Region Three communications specialist Rebecca Hammonds said. "We will continue to work through the IMPROVE Act as the priority but also be able to consider other needs as they become apparent."


  • $302 million for bridge replacement. This is a new bridge program providing an additional $60 million per year on average. TDOT can also compete for the $12.5 billion Bridge Investment
    Program for economically significant bridges and nearly $16 billion of national funding dedicated for major projects that will deliver substantial economic benefits to communities.
  • $630 million to improve public transportation options across the state.
  • $88 million to support the expansion of an electric vehicle (EV) charging network in the state. This is a new program providing an additional $17.6 million per year on average. Tennessee will
    also have the opportunity to apply for the $2.5 billion in grant funding dedicated to EV charging in the bill.
  • $300 million for infrastructure development for airports over five years.


  • Work on three bridges near the downtown loop: I-65 – Bridge over Cowan Street and Cumberland River, I-65 – Bridge over abandoned right of way, Fern Avenue over I-65/I-24
  • A conceptual study from I-24/I-40 interchange (near mile marker 208) to near I-440
  • ITS SMART Corridor, From Bell Road to Waldron Road construction
  • Preliminary engineering for construction from McCrory Lane (Exit 192) to Just West of SR1/US-70S (Exit 196)
  • Construction on Nolensville Pike from North of Mill Creek to Near SR-254 (Old Hickory Boulevard)
  • Right of way acquisition for construction on Charlotte Pike from American Road to White Bridge Road
  • Right of way acquisition for the Dickson Rest Area Renovation
  • Right of way acquisition from near Abiff Road to near Turkey Creek