Tennessee’s effort to ban open alcohol containers in cars dead for year

TRI-CITIES, TN (WJHL) – A newly released report by a national transportation research group says deterioration, congestion, and lack of safety features on Tennessee roads and bridges cost the state’s drivers $6 billion dollars per year.

The report was released one day before a house floor vote on Governor Bill Haslam’s plan to raise the gas tax for road improvements.

That’s why another piece of legislation, first introduced by an East Tennessee lawmaker, failed to move forward yet again.

Senator Jon Lundberg, of Bristol, has been a big supporter of the so-called ‘Pass the Bottle Bill’ for several years.

He was disappointed to learn the bill’s sponsor decided to pull the legislation before it made it to the floor for a vote.

“I’m surprised, frankly. And somewhat discouraged,” Lundberg said.

Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris was the sponsor of the open container law. But he decided to abandoned the bill because of lack of support from his colleagues and because it was a “distraction” to the governor’s larger transportation funding proposal.

“I don’t think that’s a distraction, again that’s a solid piece of legislation,” Lundberg said.

The law would prohibit passengers from having an open container of alcohol in a vehicle.

Lundberg said he hopes to see this pass in the future.

“You know anytime you keep alcohol out of cars and bring in millions of dollars in federal funding that were our monies to begin with, I think that’s good and strong,” he said.

Haslam called for changing the law so the lost funds could be spent on road and bridge projects across the state, and pledged to find funding for previously dedicated to prosecutors from other sources.

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