The Plan to Fund & Build Transit in Middle Tennessee
In 2016, the Middle Tennessee region took action. In September, the Metro Nashville Transit Authority (MTA) and the Regional Transportation Authority of Middle Tennessee (RTA) adopted nMotion, the region’s 25-year transit plan (www.nmotion2016.org). nMotion calls for expansions in current bus service – longer hours and more frequent arrivals. It also calls for a combination of bus rapid transit (buses in bus-only lanes), light rail trains, commuter rail, and cross-town and cross-region routes. nMotion proposes transportation options across Davidson County, with a commitment to equity and inclusion of all communities through transit infrastructure, but also the pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure needed to connect neighborhoods to transit lines.
In 2017, the Tennessee state legislature approved the IMPROVE Act, which provides a path for counties to approve local dedicated funding for transit, by putting it on the ballot for voters to decide. In April 2017, Nashville and Davidson County Mayor Megan Barry announced that Davidson County would vote on a transit plan and funding mechanism in a referendum in spring of 2018.
With Middle Tennessee’s population expected to grow by another million – to nearly three million people – by 2040, we must act now to support the passage of a transit plan and transit surcharge to created local dedicated transit funding.