Tennessee needs at least $58.6 billion of public infrastructure improvements during the five-year period of July 2019 through June 2024, according to a new report released by the Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations (TACIR). Public infrastructure improvements for Coffee County total $154 million, an increase of $6.6 million (4.5%) since last year’s report.
The current report, which is based on information provided by state and local officials, shows an increase of $3.8 billion in the entire state’s infrastructure needs (6.9%) from the January 2020 report.
Statewide, the top three areas of need are: transportation at $32 billion; post-secondary education at $5.6 billion; school renovations at $5.1 billion.
Coffee County needs
Officials report that Coffee County’s top three areas of need are: transportation at $115.3 million; new public schools and additions at $11.5 million; and school renovations at $11 million.
The county’s total estimated cost for new or improved infrastructure is $2,725 per capita, compared with $8,578 statewide per capita. Coffee County’s estimated transportation needs per capita amount to $2,039, lower than the $4,689 per capita reported statewide. Coffee County reported new public schools and additions infrastructure needs of $203 per capita, lower than the statewide average of $495 per capita. As for school renovations infrastructure needs, Coffee County reported $195 per capita, which is lower than the statewide average of $753 per capita.
Less than a third of the money needed to meet Tennessee’s public infrastructure needs has been identified.
Statewide, officials are confident that $15.5 billion (35.0%) will be available for the $44.3 billion in needs for which funding information is collected in this year’s report. About $15.6 million (12.0%) of the $129.7 million total funding needed to meet Coffee County’s infrastructure needs has been identified, according to TACIR. Funding information for needed improvements at existing schools and for needs reported in state agencies’ capital budget requests is not collected in the inventory.
According to TACIR, among Tennessee’s 95 counties, Coffee County ranked: 25th in total population (56,520) 24th in population change between 2000 and 2019 (8,353); 31st in population growth rate since 2000 (17.3%); 27th in population density at 132 people per square mile; 57th in total estimated infrastructure needs ($154.0 million); 90th in total estimated infrastructure needs per capita ($2,725); and 56th in total public-school needs per student ($2,495).
This report is the only source of statewide information on the condition of public-school buildings and the cost to put them all in good or better condition. According to local school officials, 88.9% of local public schools statewide are now in good or excellent condition. However, they estimate the cost to put the remaining 11.1% in good or better condition and keep the others in good or excellent condition is $4.9 billion, which is a $35 million increase from the cost reported in the previous inventory, according to TACIR.
Officials in Coffee County rated 5% of their school buildings as less than good overall. Local officials estimate the cost to upgrade or maintain existing schools to good or better condition is $21 million for the Coffee County school system, none for the Manchester school system, and $1.5 million for the Tullahoma school system. The cost to bring all Tennessee public school buildings up to at least good condition is $5,361 per student statewide, compared with $1,220 per student in Coffee County.
This year’s report, like last year’s, includes a statewide overview chapter that provides information by type of infrastructure, the condition and needs of our public-school facilities, the availability of funding to meet reported needs, and a comparison of county-area needs. Following that section, one-page summaries for each county-area list the estimated cost for all types of infrastructure by stage of development. The summaries also highlight the top three types of infrastructure improvements needed in each county based on total estimated cost and compare the infrastructure needed at public school systems to student enrollment. Further detailed county-area information about each type of infrastructure in the inventory, along with relevant legislation, inventory forms, and a glossary of terms, can be found in the appendixes to the report.
TACIR released information about the report on Jan. 25.
TACIR’s mission is to serve as a forum for the discussion and resolution of intergovernmental problems, provide high quality research support to state and local government officials in order to improve the overall quality of government in Tennessee and to improve the effectiveness of the intergovernmental system to better serve the citizens of Tennessee.