Nashville Out-Building Memphis 2 to 1, At Least In Terms Of Roads And Schools

This is a shot of a merge on I-40 in Memphis. Shelby County has lagged Davidson County in completing infrastructure projects in the last five years. Credit: Exotherm via Flickr

This is a shot of a merge on I-40 in Memphis. Shelby County has lagged Davidson County in completing infrastructure projects in the last five years. Credit: Exotherm via Flickr

Davidson County is spending twice as much as Shelby – the state’s most populous county – on roads, schools and government buildings. A new report finds that between 2007 and 2012, $1.2 billion was spent on Nashville’s infrastructure, while only $504 million went into the Memphis area.

The Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations (TACIR) puts out annual reports on infrastructure needs for all 95 counties. But for the first time this year, the agency looked back at completion rates.

While Nashville and Memphis had roughly the same amount of need, Nashville got a lot more done. The $1.2 billion total doesn’t even include the nearly $600 million Music City Center, which was finished earlier this year.

“So…it’s hard to say what’s causing one county to get more completed than another,” says TACIR’s Dave Keiser.

Proportionally, Nashville’s population has grown a bit more over the five-year period, which Keiser says might lead officials to go ahead with planned projects. He says the tax base and average income also appear to be “strong predictors” of how much gets done and how much is needed.

In the latest report, Shelby County topped Davidson in infrastructure needs by more than a billion dollars.

In the last five years, fast-growing Rutherford County finished government projects totaling more than $300 million. That’s nearly three times that of Chattanooga and Hamilton County, which has a larger population.

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