TACIR’s Statewide Public Infrastructure Needs Inventory Program Receives National Recognition

Thursday, January 07, 2010 | 10:19 am
NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations’ (TACIR) statewide Public Infrastructure Needs Inventory program was recently recognized by the National Association of Development Organizations (NADO) as a 2009 Innovation Award winner.  NADO’s annual innovation awards program has been recognizing creative approaches to regional community and economic development since 1986.
 
The Tennessee Development District Association (TDDA), represented by Mr. Terry Bobrowski, executive director of the East Tennessee Development District, and Mr. John Bucy, executive director of the Northwest Tennessee Human Resource Agency and Development District, presented the Advisory Commission with a plaque at the December 9-10, 2009, Commission meeting. Dr. Harry Green, executive director, TACIR, accepted the award on behalf of the Commission and staff.
 
Dr. Green recognized the efforts of the TACIR staff involved in the daily operations of the infrastructure project:
  • Catherine Corley, senior research associate, manages the project.
  • Janet Steen, business and systems analyst, is responsible for the development and implementation of the online system.
Ms. Corley and Ms. Steen have overseen development of an Internet accessible system that has made TACIR’s infrastructure program far more efficient and timely.  The system, which was the vision of Associate Executive Director Lynnisse Roehrich-Patrick, has built into it "intelligence" that takes the place of staff review and gives instant feedback on whether each project listing is complete and accurately recorded.  The system has made it possible to complete the inventory in less time and with a smaller staff than it had five years ago.
 
The Tennessee General Assembly charged the TACIR with developing and maintaining an inventory of public infrastructure needs "in order for the state, municipal and county governments of Tennessee to develop goals, strategies and programs which would
  • improve the quality of life of its citizens,
  • support livable communities, and
  • enhance and encourage the overall economic development of the state."

[Public Chapter 817, Acts of 1996.]

This project is the result of that charge. To date, seven reports have been released presenting information from the inventory. Each report summarizes key information from the inventory and summarizes estimated costs of needs reported by local officials, statewide by type of need, by current stage of development, and by type of governmental entity responsible for the need. The reports are available on TACIR’s website at www.tn.gov/tacir/infrastructure.html.
 
According to TACIR’s September 2009 report, Tennessee needs at least $34.2 billion of public infrastructure improvements to be in some stage of development during the five-year period of 2007-2012. The current report, which is based on information provided by state and local officials, shows an increase in needs of $20.5 billion since the 1999 report was published and an increase of about $5.9 billion (20.7%) from the September 2007 report. 
 
While the Public Infrastructure Needs Inventory has long played a key role in communicating the state's true needs to the Tennessee General Assembly and other policy makers, over the course of the last year, it has been put to a new use:  to identify shovel ready projects for funding through the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA).  Local officials and development district staff used the project listings from the inventory to review their needs for federal stimulus funding eligibility, and the Tennessee State School Bond Authority used information about public school facility needs to rate grant proposals for the ARRA's Qualified School Construction Bond program.
 
The National Association of Development Organizations (NADO) serves as the voice for the nation's 520 regional development organizations.  The association focuses on federal advocacy, research and analysis, and fostering peer exchanges and professional development. Additional information about the 2009 NADO awards can be found at www.nado.org/rf/09innovatebook.pdf.
 
The TACIR was established by the General Assembly in 1978 to monitor the operation of federal-state-local relations and make recommendations for improvements. 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. For more information, please visit our website at www.tn.gov/tacir.