Tenn. lawmaker promises transportation funding hearings

Tennessee's Senate Transportation and Safety Committee Chairman Jim Tracy said on Wednesday that he will hold transportation funding hearings over the summer to discuss the state's transportation infrastructure funding problems.

Tracy will address current funding dilemmas and look for ways in which reform can be implemented into legislation next year.

“These hearings are to discuss a comprehensive solution to fund the long-term needs of Tennessee’s transportation system,” Tracy said. “I am looking forward to having this conversation with the governor, my colleagues and other Tennesseans who care about the future of our transportation infrastructure. And I am looking forward to working with the General Assembly next year to find a solution to our transportation funding problems.”

Tracy said traffic has grown with Tennessee’s population over the last 25 years. He believes it’s time to look into new technologies for vehicles that no longer need gas or diesel fuel.

To address this issue, he pointed to a recent list from the Tennessee comptroller’s office that offered many options for reforming transportation infrastructure. The list included: increasing state user fees on diesel and gasoline; increasing and equalizing user fees on alternative fuels; indexing fuel user fees to inflation; increasing vehicle registration renewal fees on cars and trucks; enacting a highway user fee for electric vehicles; and creating high-occupancy toll lanes.

Tracy emphasized that all ideas need to be explored.

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