Putnam County’s public infrastructure needs almost $670 million

NASHVILLE – State and local officials have reported that Putnam County needs $669.3 million in infrastructure improvements during the five-year period of July 2019 through June 2024. This number is a decrease of $2.6 million (0.4%) since last year, according to a new report released by the Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations (TACIR). 

The current report, shows Tennessee needs at least $58.6 billion of public infrastructure improvements during the same five year period, an increase of $3.8 billion in the entire state’s infrastructure needs (6.9%) from the January 2020 report. 

Statewide, the top three areas of need are 

  • Transportation at $32.0 billion, 
  • Post-secondary education at $5.6 billion, and 
  • School Renovations at $5.1 billion. 

Officials report that Putnam County’s top three areas of need are 

  • Post-secondary education at $465.0 million,
  • Transportation at $97.2 million, and 
  • New public schools & additions at $30.1 million. 

The county’s total estimated cost for new or improved infrastructure is $8,341 per capita, compared with $8,578 statewide per capita. Putnam County’s estimated post-secondary education needs per capita amount to $5,795, higher than the $815 per capita reported statewide. Putnam County reported transportation infrastructure needs of $1,211 per capita, lower than the statewide average of $4,689 per capita. As for new public schools & additions infrastructure needs, Putnam County reported $375 per capita, which is lower than the statewide average of $495 per capita. 

Less than a third of the money needed to meet Tennessee’s public infrastructure needs has been identified. Statewide, officials are confident that $15.5 billion (35.0%) will be available for the $44.3 billion in needs for which funding information is collected in this year’s report. About $38.1 million (25.6%) of the $148.4 million total funding needed to meet Putnam County’s infrastructure needs has been identified. Funding information for needed improvements at existing schools and for needs reported in state agencies’ capital budget requests is not collected in the inventory. 

Among Tennessee’s 95 counties, Putnam County ranked 

  • 17th in total population (80,245), 
  • 15th in population change between 2000 and 2019 (17,766), 
  • 15th in population growth rate since 2000 (28.4%), 
  • 17th in population density at 200 people per square mile, 
  • 14th in total estimated infrastructure needs ($669.3 million), 
  • 30th in total estimated infrastructure needs per capita ($8,341), and 
  • 33rd in total public-school needs per student ($4,017). 

This report is the only source of statewide information on the condition of public-school buildings and the cost to put them all in good or better condition. According to local school officials, 88.9% of local public schools statewide are now in good or excellent condition. However, they estimate the cost to put the remaining 11.1% in good or better condition and keep the others in good or excellent condition is $4.9 billion, which is a $35 million increase from the cost reported in the previous inventory. 

Officials in Putnam County did not rate any of their school buildings as less than good overall. Local officials estimate the cost to upgrade or maintain existing schools to good or better condition is $24.3 million for the Putnam County school system. The cost to bring all Tennessee public school buildings up to at least good condition is $5,361 per student statewide, compared with $1,292 per student in Putnam County. 

This year’s report, like last year’s, includes a statewide overview chapter that provides information by type of infrastructure, the condition and needs of our public-school facilities, the availability of funding to meet reported needs and a comparison of county-area needs. Following that section, one-page summaries for each county-area list the estimated cost for all types of infrastructure by stage of development. The summaries also highlight the top three types of infrastructure improvements needed in each county based on total estimated cost and compare the infrastructure needed at public school systems to student enrollment. Further detailed county-area information about each type of infrastructure in the inventory, along with relevant legislation, inventory forms and a glossary of terms, can be found in the appendixes to the report. 

The full report can be found on TACIR’s web site at 

https://www.tn.gov/tacir/infrastructure/infrastructure-reports-/building-tennessee-s-tomorrow-2019- 2024.html 

TACIR Mission 

TACIR’s mission is to serve as a forum for the discussion and resolution of intergovernmental problems, provide high quality research support to state and local government officials in order to improve the overall quality of government in Tennessee and to improve the effectiveness of the intergovernmental system to better serve the citizens of Tennessee. 

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