Tennessee scrambles to avoid losing $60M in road money
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) —
Tennessee officials are scrambling to avoid losing $60 million in federal road funding because of a new state law that runs afoul of zero-tolerance standards for underage drivers who have been drinking.
Federal guidelines suggest a strict 0.02 percent allowable blood alcohol content for drivers under the legal drinking age. The new Tennessee law raises that limit to 0.08 for 18- to 20-year-olds but metes out the stronger penalties for offenders.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Monday that it will withhold the 8 percent of Tennessee’s federal highway funding if the state is not in compliance by Oct. 1.
The state Transportation Department argues that another state law prohibits minors from having a blood alcohol content above 0.02 percent, and that that should count toward compliance with zero tolerance.