Governor Lee leads new regional transit strategy

Local News

With the growth in and around Nashville comes more traffic.

Now the region’s plan for the future is taking a new approach with the help of Governor Bill Lee leading the charge.

Growth in Nashville – good for the economy, but tricky when it comes to traffic.

“The risk is, if we don’t lead in the responsibility we have, we risk that continued opportunity,” said Gov. Lee.

Governor Lee is now helping to launch the new strategy to fix the region’s transit issues.

“This is going to require a clear strategy that has broad public support and the only way to gain that is to have the support of leaders from the entire region,” said Gov. Lee.

The announcement came during the Wednesday kickoff of the Greater Nashville Regional Council’s 20-Year Plan.

GNRC Deputy Director Michelle Lacewell said the kickoff gives local, state, and transportation stakeholders a chance to re-assess projects every five years.

“The answer is a series of solutions that are both short and long-term,” said Lacewell.

The GNRC is helping to manage more than 200 projects throughout Middle Tennessee.

Some of the big projects include I-440 and about a dozen on Vietnam Veterans Blvd.

“We’ve been somewhat disjointed in the way we we’ve brought people together,” said Lacewell.

“I think the missing piece was everyone wasn’t on the same page,” said City of Franklin Mayor Ken Moore.

Moore referred to the failed $9 billion transit plan last year.

“We look back at those transit initiatives that failed here. Everybody wasn’t on board. So it went down the vine. So the top down direction from the Governor – that’s a big deal,” said Moore.

“It may work, it may not, I don’t know,” said commuter Richard Baker.

A wait and see, commuters hope will soon lead to change on their way to work.

“I’m hopeful,” said Baker.

Lacewell said possible solutions include improving interstate off-ramps, the aging downtown loop, bike lanes and pedestrian access.

Moore said multi-modal options will be key.

“There’s not one solution and we can’t just focus on one thing,” said Moore. “We have to focus on many options, autonomous vehicles part of that is the solution. Technology. We don’t even know what technology is going to be like in the future it’s changing so fast.”

Lacewell said the GNRC meets once a month and stakeholders will be re-evaluating current projects, discussing future ones, and looking into funding.

The GNRC also gave an update on its South Corridor Study that extends from Davidson to Maury County.

Recommendations include light rail, BRT lines with dedicated shoulder lanes for buses.

The GNRC will be seeking public input on the recommendations as early as December.

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