Tennessee needs nearly $55 billion in estimated annual infrastructure-improvement spending to meet the public's infrastructure needs, according to a report from the Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations.
The $54.8 billion estimate is a 9.7 percent spending increase from last year, which amounts to about $4.8 billion. The majority of this cost can be attributed to the rising cost of transportation and utility infrastructure, which amounts to $3.7 billion of the increase.
The second-largest increase was education, which rose $575 million. The primary driver of these increases come from improvements needed for higher education, which will cost an additional $395 million. Costs for K-12 education increased by $242 million – 11.2 percent of the state's schools rated in fair or poor condition; 182 of these 198 schools account for nearly half of the cost of improving school space.
Three other categories needed an increase of about $200 million each: recreation and culture, general government and health, and safety and welfare. Economic development was the only category to have a decrease. It went down about $65 million.
Transportation and utilities accounts for more than half of the cost estimates of $29.6 billion, while education accounts for the second most at $14.2 billion. Health, safety and welfare account for $7.6 billion.