The Commission will meet in Nashville on December 10 and 11 to discuss work on several bills sent to TACIR for study. Draft reports on two bills will be reviewed and discussed on the afternoon of December 10. One of those bills would cap water and sewer rates for customers of city water utilities living in Sullivan County outside of Johnson City; the other would allow local governments to buy insurance as an alternative to individual surety bonds for public officials. On the morning of December 11, the Commission will continue discussing its broad study of state laws on comprehensive growth plans and on changing municipal boundaries, including several bills that would change those laws and various alternatives to them. Video streaming will be available both days. Please visit our meeting page for the agenda, reports and other documents on these issues, and video links.
Tennessee has $37.1 billion worth of public infrastructure improvements that should be in some stage of development from July 1, 2011, through June 30, 2016. TACIR’s latest infrastructure inventory report provides information on these improvements, grouping them into six general categories: transportation and utilities ($20.2 billion in infrastructure improvements), education ($7.2 billion), health, safety, and welfare ($6.2 billion), recreation and culture ($1.7 billion), economic development ($1.2 billion), and general government ($488 million). Transportation infrastructure, which dwarfs all other types, increased by $1.3 billion (6.8%). Even with that increase, overall infrastructure needs are flat compared with the year before.
The inventory also provides the only statewide source of information about the condition of public school buildings and what it would take to get them all in good or better condition. The news here continues to be good with local school officials reporting that 93% of local public schools are in good or excellent condition. The cost to bring the remaining 7% up to good or better condition is estimated at $574 million.
Further, this year’s report examines why infrastructure is built. Senator Mark Norris, TACIR’s chairman, notes that public infrastructure is one of the most important things government can provide to encourage economic development, saying, “This inventory is not just a catalog of infrastructure needs; it’s a guide for improving quality of life in Tennessee.” In addition to fostering economic development and improving the quality of communities, infrastructure is also built in response to population growth, public health and safety concerns, and government mandates. Examining these reasons and how they are related to funding, the report shows that two-thirds (67%) of the cost of improvements are needed for public health and safety, 29% is needed for population growth, and 22% is needed for community enhancement. (Full Report)
TACIR has partnered with the Middle Tennessee State University Business and Economic Research Center to provide an Internet site to track the state economy during the recovery from the recession that began in December 2007. The site will permit the reader to follow labor force status including employment and unemployment numbers; housing data including a housing price index and construction activity; and sales tax collections. These data are available for the state and for 10 Metropolitan Statistical Areas across the state. Presented graphically, the data may also be downloaded for use at the reader’s convenience. (More)
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 in order to better serve the citizens of Tennessee.