The Industrial Access Roads Program provides grants to local governments (cities and counties) to pay for design, engineering and construction of access roads to industrial areas that help facilitate the development and expansion of industry in the State of Tennessee. Only industrial areas are eligible, so commercial retail and office projects are not allowed. Funding is restricted to access roads on public land, and the local community must bear costs of right of way, utility adjustment and railroad crossing protection. The Tennessee Dept. of Transportation (TDOT) administers the program. The Commissioner of Transportation makes grant awards.
The program process starts with a local government filling out an application for funding an access road project, with information about the proposed new industry (or industrial expansion) and the local participation role. A TDOT field engineer reviews design and permitting needs. Upon approval, TDOT builds the road or lets a contract for construction of the access road (industrial highway project.) Once the industrial highway construction is completed, it is the responsibility of the local government to maintain the industrial highway.
The State Legislature appropriates funding each year when it approves the Department of Transportation budget. For recent years, the Legislature has funded the program at $10 million annually. In FY 2003 actual spending was reduced as much as half due to revenue shortfalls, but increased in FY 2004 to $11 million for 14 projects.
The Industrial Access Roads Program was enabled by the Tennessee legislature through the Industrial Highway Act of 1959. However, funding started in 1966 with $600,000. That annual funding allocation has grown over time. In 1986 funding was increased contemporaneously with a gas tax increase. As noted above, in recent years it has generally been in the range of $10 million/year.
Starting in the mid 1990's, benefit cost information was required. As of the time of this study, TDOT staff conducted a benefit/cost type analysis on applications, by considering the local property tax revenues and payrolls to be generated (as reported on applications) relative to the expected costs.
Another evolutionary change has been program staffing. Originally, the program was centralized with all staff at the TDOT headquarters, but now the program has regional project managers, located at TDOT's four regional offices. This has helped with local liaison and engineering review. However, the four regions of the TDOT do not exactly match the seven regions of the Tennessee Dept of Economic and Community Development (TECD.)
In 2000, there were several rules changes to give more flexible options to local communities:
In 2003, there were additional rules changes with the addition of environmental guidelines to avoid historically or environmentally sensitive areas. Also in 2003, the Governor (Phil Bredesen) signed an Executive Order creating the "Fast Track" service to cut government red tape for existing or prospective Tennessee businesses seeking to expand or invest in Tennessee jobs. With this system, there were protocols for coordination among state agencies in responding to inquiries from prospective or existing businesses interested in locating or growing in the state, and the state government commits to provide a response within three days. Under this system, each agency including TDOT assigns a representative to work closely with the TECD, the latter being the lead agency. Part of the new system was a "pre-application process" for the Industrial Access Roads Program. TDOT assigned its Chief Engineer as its Fast Track representative.
Program eligibility for Tennessee's Industrial Access Roads Program is set by law, and is restricted to applications for funding the construction of a public road or street (on public land), designated and located to provide access to an industrial site or industrial park.
Program funding decisions considerations include:
There is no formal follow-up to confirm the number of jobs and payroll actually added to the community. TDOT reviews road maintenance. If the road is not being effectively maintained, then TDOT may take over maintenance and withhold all funds otherwise allocable to the city and/or county until the project is restored to its proper condition.
The Industrial Highway Act of 1959 (T.C.A. 54-5-403) authorized the Tennessee Department of Transportation to contract with cities and counties for the development of "Industrial Highways" in order to provide access to industrial areas, and to facilitate the development and expansion of industry within the State of Tennessee. The following is a list of steps for making application and developing projects under the State Industrial Access (SIA) Program.
The following text was taken verbatim from Tennessee DOT documents:
It is the intent and purpose of this application to provide the Department with information necessary to properly consider justification of the required highway facility. The Application consists of three parts. Attachment "A" is the Application form to be filled out by the local government. Attachment "B" is an example Resolution. A similar Resolution should be submitted with the Application. Attachment "C" is an list of features to be depicted on a map for the proposed project.
APPLICATION TO: Commissioner Tennessee Department of Transportation
SUBJECT: Application to the Tennessee Department of Transportation For Assistance in the Construction of an Industrial Highway
It is the desire of _____________________ to make application to the (Local government) Tennessee Department of Transportation for assistance in the construction of an Industrial Highway under the provisions of the Industrial Highway Act of 1959. In order to expedite the review of this application, and to furnish necessary information for the economic analysis of the proposal, the following information is being provided.
MODEL LOCAL RESOLUTION
RESOLUTION is vitally interested in the (City, Town or County) economic welfare of its citizens and wishes to provide the necessary leadership to enhance this areas capabilities for growth and development, provision of jobs to area citizens by local industry is both necessary and vital to the economic well-being, authorizes the Tennessee Department of Transportation to contract with cities and counties for the construction and maintenance of "Industrial Highways" to provide access to industrial areas and to facilitate the development and expansion of industry within the State of Tennessee, construction of an industrial access road to serve said proposed plant is necessary and vital to the successful completion of this project and the future economic well-being of this area
The Industrial Access Roads program was used in the 1980's as one element of a package of incentives used to attract a Nissan auto plant and later a Saturn auto plant. More recent projects are listed on the table that follows:
Tennessee Industrial Access Roads Program Projects FY 2002
|Project||Project scope||State Amount|
|Lowe's Home Center- distribution center||Base and paving||$175,000|
|Franklin Life Sciences Center-research & development||Grading, drainage, base paving||$194,000|
|Tennessee Mills Company -manufacture wooden pallets||Grading, drainage, base paving||$216,500|
|Sherwood Industry (expansion) -manufacture furniture||Grading, drainage, base paving||$124,500|
|Nestle' North American Waters -bottled water manufacture||Grading, drainage, base paving||$754,500|
|John Deere -distribution center for lawn tractors||Base and paving||$67,000|
|Tullahoma Industries, LLC -manufacture apparel||Grading, drainage, base paving||$344,500|
|Gregory Manufacturing -welding/metal fabrication||Base and paving||$77,000|
|Bridgestone/Firestone, Inc. -tire distribution center||Grading, drainage, base paving||$356,500|
|Garner Automotive (expansion) -manufacture starters & alternators||Base and paving||$265,500|
|Micro Metals -manufacture metal automotive & power tool components||Grading, drainage, base paving||$294,000|
|Airborne Express -air cargo distribution center||Base and paving||$159,000|
|Total Funds FY 2002||$10,800,000|
1 Projects approved in calendar year 2002