Tennessee DOT says current projects could take up to 51 years to finish

Updated Jan 7, 2016

Tennessee welcome sign interstate

The Tennessee Department of Transportation is warning that without a more concrete funding plan for the future, the current slate of projects the department has planned could take more than half a century to be completed.

According to the Memphis Commercial Appeal, TDOT Deputy Commissioner Toks Omishakin told a group at a conference at the University of Memphis that the the $11.4 billion in transportation projects planned could take 51 years to finish if inflation stays at 2 percent and no new projects are added.

“This is an issue of timing. This is an issue of priority. Do we really want to wait 50 years until we get a project like Lamar Avenue completed?” Omishakin said.

Omishakin said the recently passed federal FAST Act is helpful for TDOT to finish its projects, but there needs to be a more viable funding plan. While he said TDOT hasn’t called for a gas tax increase, an increase of a penny per gallon could bring in $20 million.