The number of miles driven on Tennessee highways has fallen more than 3% for the year. That’s the longest period of decline since the Department of Transportation began counting passing cars 30 years ago.
Commissioner Gerald Nicely blames higher gas prices through much of the year.
“There are a lot of people who think it will not pick up even with the lower gas prices. We’ll just have to see.”
As drivers log fewer miles, they’re also purchasing less fuel. The 21-cent-per-gallon gas tax is the major source of funding for road construction in the state. Thus far, TDOT is $10 million dollars behind projections for the year.
Governor Bredesen has long-supported upping the gas tax. He says he’s not pushing for it this year, but he’s ready to sign the legislation if the General Assembly could corral the votes.