Legislation to help counties improve roads

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Senator Ken Yager with capitol update from Nashville. (photo contributed)

County Road Relief Act would return millions of dollars to taxpayers in the form of road improvements

(NASHVILLE, Tenn.), March 20, 2015 — Legislation returning millions of dollars to taxpayers in the form of road infrastructure improvements was approved by the Senate Transportation Committee this week. The “County Road Relief Act of 2015,” sponsored by Senator Ken Yager (R-Kingston), changes the way Tennessee currently manages its State Aid Road Grant Program to make it easier for counties to access state funds to upgrade, repair and improve roads.

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“I am very excited about the potential that this legislation brings not only to provide better roads for our citizens but to bring in new industry and jobs to our communities.

Sen. Ken Yager – 12th District

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“This legislation helps to unlock local money that has been sitting unused to help aid communities with making needed road improvements,” said Senator Yager. “Counties may have state road aid accounts, but cannot access those funds because they can’t afford the match. This will help get needed road work done in all 95 Tennessee counties.”

Currently, to receive funding through the State Highway Aid System, a 25 percent local match must be made by local governments. Senate Bill 1005 would allow a county to use state highway aid for a project, as long as they contribute at least two percent of the approved project cost or provide in-kind work as approved by the Department of Transportation. The legislation is particularly helpful to rural counties whom are struggling financially.

“I am very excited about the potential that this legislation brings not only to provide better roads for our citizens but to bring in new industry and jobs to our communities,” Yager added.

The legislation is modeled after the County Bridge Relief Act of 2014, also sponsored by Yager, which lowered the match to allow local governments to access unused funds in Tennessee’s State Aid Bridge Grant Program. That program has allowed counties to access unused funds to improve bridges which had fallen into disrepair.

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