Alexander, Frist Announce Increase For Tennessee Highway Funds

Posted on January 22, 2004

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senators Bill Frist (R-TN) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN) today announced that the State of Tennessee will receive an additional $1.455 billion in federal highway spending through the Senate's proposed six-year reauthorization of the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21). "This increase in federal highway funding is great news for Tennessee," said Frist. "The more than $1.4 billion in additional funding will allow Tennessee to expand and improve its highway system, which is already one of the best in the nation, and help keep our roads safer and more reliable. Completion of this six-year reauthorization bill will also create new jobs and promote economic growth throughout the State." "Senator Frist has worked hard as majority leader to ensure that Tennessee receives its fair share of highway dollars," said Alexander. "Better roads mean better jobs. And now Tennesseans will be getting more for their money." Tennessee, which is a "donor" state, currently receives less federal highway funding than the state's highway users pay into the Highway Trust Fund. Under the previous TEA-21 bill, Tennessee is guaranteed to receive a minimum of 90.5 percent of its contributions to the Highway Account of the Highway Trust Fund. The Senate's proposed reauthorization legislation provides a progressive increase of Tennessee's minimum guarantee to 95 percent by 2009, resulting in a $1.455 billion increase in federal highway program funding through 2009. This authorizing legislation for the existing federal highway, highway safety, and transit programs, was scheduled to expire at the end of fiscal year 2003. Congress extended these programs through February 29, 2004, to consider reauthorization legislation. In general, the highway bill is reauthorized every six years. The Senate is scheduled to take up the highway measure for floor debate as early as February 2. The House of Representatives is also slated to begin consideration of its version of the bill in the near future.