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Tennessee to Devote More Gas Tax Money to Roads
Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen will scale back the state raid on gas tax funds as a possible way to avoid toll roads.

Phil Breseden
Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen (D) announced this week that next year's budget would partially end the state's raid on gas tax funds. Each year the state generates $651 million from a 21.4 cent tax on each gallon of gasoline sold, but only 59 percent -- $388 million -- actually goes to the Tennessee Department of Transportation which allocates the money to construction projects, highway maintenance and mass transit.

On the state level, Bredesen has pledged to prevent the state from taking $32 million out the gas tax funds for general spending. Cities will continue to take $240 million out of gas tax funds for local projects, which often include maintenance and repair of local roads.

Although not ruling out the possibility of imposing tolls on state roads, Bredesen seemed skeptical of the concept.

"When it comes to where you would put a road in Tennessee that somebody would pay to drive on and they couldn't just easily take a road along side of it somewhere, it's not obvious about where that is," Bredesen said, as reported in the Nashville City Paper.

Source: State told to steer cautiously around plan to build toll roads (Nashville City Paper (TN), 12/5/2006)

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