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Tennessee spends less than almost any other state on its highways and roads on a per capita basis but enjoys roadways that are better than most states. Roadway quality is now at risk unless new funding is found.
That’s the finding reported in a new paper produced by researchers at the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. The policy brief is available here: PolicyBrief-4-15-Gas.11.24.15
UT Baker Center researchers, Dr. Mark Burton, Dr. David Greene and Dr. Matt Murray, collaborated to recommend a policy for maintaining and improving roads in light of declining gas tax revenues. The decline in revenue is mainly due to inflation (gas tax has not been increased since 1989 when gas cost around $1/gallon) and the improving gas efficiency of cars. The authors recommend a combination of raising the tax and indexing it to inflation and efficiency.