Tennessee state senator wants $280 million repaid into state’s highway fund


Jim Tracy (R-Shelbyville), Tennessee Senate Transportation Committee chairman, is seeking $280 million in repayment for funds “raided” from the highway fund and used in other agencies between 2001 and 2007.

Tracy plans to submit in January a budget appropriation amendment requiring repayment of the funds over a two-year period.

A breakdown of the funds requested redistributed from the highway fund to the general fund is below.

“We have a covenant with our citizens that the gas tax charged by the state at the pump is dedicated to transportation-related purposes and not something totally unrelated,” Tracy said.

“This money should have never been diverted for other state government purposes and should have been paid back at the first available opportunity. Instead, we still have a $280 million hole at a time when we are struggling greatly to fund repairs and priority projects.”

Tracy continued that keeping the dedicated road fund intact is more important now than ever. “The shaky Federal Highway Trust Fund, increased construction costs and rising gas prices have eroded Tennessee’s ability to keep up with transportation demands. We must restore the money taken from this fund.”

Fiscal Year            Amount  

2001-2002                $30 million

2002-2003                $30 million

2003-2004                $65.8 million

2004-2005                $65.8 million

2005-2006                $55.8 million

2006-2007                $32.8 million