The State Industrial Access Road (SIA) program is another one of those under rated programs at TDOT that a lot of folks are not familiar with. The program is run by the TDOT Project Management Office http://www.tdot.state.tn.us/projectmgmt/ who have regional Project Managers that help work with communities to apply for the funding.
The intent of the legislation is to help encourage industries to develop, locate and build facilities across Tennessee by providing roads into industries from State Routes, that would then go through and connect with other State Routes. In practice most of the time the roadways constructed don’t connect through, and dead end into industrial parks, or private industries.
The roads constructed under this program are simply two paved 12 foot lanes with a 4 foot shoulder. Anything beyond that is the responsibility of the local government. Still a road like that can add up pretty quickly. The program is a very good deal for everyone: The industry does not have to pay for it’s access road, the local government doesn’t have to pay for it, the community gets more jobs, and the State will end up with a greater tax base. Win/win/win/win.
The great thing about SIA projects is that they are funded with 100% State funding. This means that a great deal of the restrictions, and processes associated with Federal funding do not exist. The contracts still go through the TDOT Local Programs Office, but since the projects are State funded, and usually let to contract by TDOT the process is much more simplified.
Recently I had a discussion with one of the Project Managers for TDOT about this program. There is a lot of good news to talk about. While most funding sources have been shrinking (think Transportation Enhancement and CMAQ funding) SIA funds have remained fully funded. Also, Governor Haslam is very interested in using these funds to help spur economic development.
What does that mean? It means if you have an industry or business that is thinking about expanding or locating in your area you need to call the TDOT Project Management Office to see if they can help with creating access for this business.