By Richard Locker, Memphis Commercial Appeal
September 16, 2010

NASHVILLE — Tennessee needs at least $37.3 billion worth of public infrastructure improvements to be in some stage of development by 2013, according to an annual survey of state and local officials.

The survey was conducted by the Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations.

The new inventory, released Thursday, shows an increase in needs of $23.6 billion since the 1999 report and an increase of about $3.1 billion, or 9 percent, from the September 2009 report.

–The needs fall into six general categories:

–Transportation and utilities, $18.9 billion

–Education, $7.7 billion

–Health, safety and welfare, $7.1 billion

–Recreation and culture, $1.8 billion

–Economic development, $1 billion

–General government, $649 million.

The largest increase is in the transportation and utilities category, up from $17.7 billion last year. Transportation needs alone make up $18.3 billion, or 49 percent of the total. Most of the remaining increase from the previous inventory was in needs at the state’s colleges and universities, with an increase of $1 billion, and in water and wastewater, with an increase of $307 million.

The report also includes information about the availability of funding and of the $29.2 billion in needs identified as local. Officials are confident of funding for only $9.1 billion. Officials are asked to report only those funding dollars that are available and not asked to speculate about how a project could be funded.

Some projects are expected to receive funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, but the amounts are yet unknown.

There is a glimmer of good news in the report: According to local school officials, 91 percent of local public schools are now in good or excellent condition. The full report is available online at

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