Roads removed from Tennessee public-private partnership bill

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – A proposal to allow public-private partnerships for transportation projects in Tennessee is advancing in the state Legislature after sponsors said it would no longer apply to highway or bridge construction.

Republican Sen. Bill Ketron of Murfreesboro said the measure would now only apply to mass transit projects like light rail. Ketron said that highways and bridges were removed from the legislation at the behest of the roadbuilders’ lobby.

Under the proposal, private operators would pay for the projects and then collect the fees needed to cover their costs over a period of several years before returning them to the public sector.

The Senate Transportation Committee advanced the bill on a 7-1 vote on Monday.