Infrastructure & Environment

Obama Budget Seeks to End Federal Ties to Nation's Largest Utility

March 5, 2014

President Barack Obama signaled Tuesday he still wants the federal government to sell its ownership stake in the nation’s largest federal utility, the Tennessee Valley Authority.

His proposed 2015 fiscal year budget praises TVA for undertaking “a major internal review” over the past year and having “taken significant steps to improve its future operating and financial performance.”

But then it adds: “The administration recognizes the important role TVA serves in the Tennessee Valley and stands ready to work with the Congress and TVA’s stakeholders to explore options to end federal ties to TVA, including alternatives such as a transfer of ownership to state or local stakeholders.”

Obama first broached the idea of selling the TVA last year in his proposed 2014 budget, and it immediately met with criticism from the Tennessee congressional delegation.

One of the issues highlighted last year by the Obama administration was the TVA’s debt load of more than $30 billion. Members of the delegation said that, after deductions for its debt, selling the agency probably would cost taxpayers money.

In its latest budget. the administration praises TVA for committing to resolving “its capital financing constraints” and that it “supports TVA’s ongoing operating and financial initiatives and intends to closely monitor TVA’s performance.”

Regardless, some in the delegation remain critical of the idea.

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