Repair Priorities: Tennessee

Tennessee’s road conditions

As of 2008, 70% of Tennessee’s state-owned major roads were in “good” condition, meaning they were smooth and without potholes. 30% of Tennessee’s roads had fallen out of good condition, meaning they will now be increasingly expensive to repair and maintain.

Tennessee’s highway spending priorities

Between 2004 and 2008, Tennessee spent 53% of its highway capital expenditures on road expansion – $487 million each year on average – but only 13% on repair and maintenance of existing roads – $116 million. That 53% of spending on expansion added 801 lane-miles to Tennessee’s road network.

Tennessee would need to spend $833 million annually for the next twenty years to get the current backlog of poor-condition major roads into a state of good repair and maintain all state-owned roads in good condition. Shifting more funds toward repair would go a long way toward addressing the state’s maintenance needs.

Tennessee’s road condition goals

Tennessee uses the Pavement Quality Index and Maintenance Rating Index to measure pavement condition. The state sets different condition targets for different road types but aims to maintain an average of 87.5% of state-owned major roads in “good” or better condition and have less than 12.5% in “poor” condition. These targets are reassessed every three to five years.

For more information about Tennessee’s pavement management program, including the source and methodology for the above information, see the appendices of Repair Priorities.

Read more about Tennessee’s transportation spending

Smart Transportation Tennessee: Save Money and Growth the Economy
This Smart Growth America report provides more extensive analysis of Tennessee’s transportation spending priorities and recommendations for how state leaders can make the most of Tennessee’s transportation funds.

Click here to download the report (PDF)