Lawmakers Look At Changing Formula For State Road & Bridge Aid to Rural Counties

State Representative John Mark Windle, left and State Senator Ken Yager, right, are shown during a recent visit to Fentress County during which they sat down with Fentress County Road Supervisor Scott Norris, center, to discuss the state’s present formula for aid to local county governments for roads and bridges.

State Representative John Mark Windle, left and State Senator Ken Yager, right, are shown during a recent visit to Fentress County during which they sat down with Fentress County Road Supervisor Scott Norris, center, to discuss the state’s present formula for aid to local county governments for roads and bridges.

Like many other small, rural counties throughout the state of Tennessee, Fentress County is faced with the delimma of how to cope with rising costs of building and maintaining roads and bridges, while revenues continue to decline.

In a recent visit to Fentress County, State Representative John Mark Windle and State Senator Ken Yager met with Fentress County Road Supervisor Scott Norris to gather input on this situation, and agreed that something needed to be done to make the formula more equitable.

Fentress County Road Supervisor Norris and his office staff had compiled figures comparing  revenue and expenses from the 2002-2003 fiscal year to the 2014-15 fiscal year, showing that while average costs had increased by more than 100%, that revenue had only increased by 3.92%.

Local counties receive state funding for roads and bridges from the gas and diesel tax, which has not increased in some 30 years.  Currently, the state gasoline tax is 20¢ per gallon and the diesel tax is 17¢ per gallon.