The BIL will inject just over 1/2 a billion dollars into Tennessee's transit and water infrastructure, helping the state boost these poorly rated sectors.
Tennessee's infrastructure plays a vital role in the state's economic growth and development. The state's infrastructure includes transportation, water, energy, and broadband systems. However, like many other states, Tennessee faces challenges in maintaining and upgrading its infrastructure. The American Society of Civil Engineers gave Tennessee a C on its infrastructure report card.
Transportation infrastructure is a significant concern in Tennessee, with the state ranking 43rd in the nation for overall infrastructure quality according to the American Society of Civil Engineers. In 2019, Tennessee had 865 structurally deficient bridges, and nearly 19% of its major roads were in poor condition. The state's highways are heavily used by commercial trucks, contributing to wear and tear on the roads and bridges.
The state's water infrastructure also faces challenges. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, Tennessee's water infrastructure needs over $10 billion in investment over the next 20 years to maintain and upgrade existing systems. Aging infrastructure and increased demand for water put pressure on the state's water systems, and a lack of investment can lead to issues such as water main breaks and contamination.
Tennessee's energy infrastructure includes coal-fired power plants, nuclear power plants, and renewable energy sources. The state ranks 18th in the nation for renewable energy potential, with significant resources in wind, solar, and hydroelectric power. However, the state's aging energy infrastructure, including coal-fired power plants, poses environmental and health risks.
Finally, Tennessee's broadband infrastructure is critical for economic growth and development. In 2021, Tennessee ranked 35th in the nation for broadband access, with 22% of rural Tennesseans lacking access to high-speed internet. The state has made efforts to expand broadband access, including through the Tennessee Broadband Accessibility Act, which provides grants for broadband infrastructure projects in underserved areas.
Overall, Tennessee's infrastructure faces challenges in maintaining and upgrading existing systems while also expanding to meet the state's growing needs. Investment in infrastructure is critical for the state's economic growth and development, and ongoing efforts to address these challenges will be essential for Tennessee's future success.