NASHVILLE, Tennessee – After sitting in the front row throughout Metro Nashville Mayor Megan Barry’s Transit Launch Event Tuesday for the “Let’s Move Nashville Metro’s Transportation Solution,” State Rep. Barry “Boss” Doss (R-Leoma) ran away from The Tennessee Star, avoiding follow-up questions on his sponsorship of the IMPROVE Act, a major portion of which was dedicated to enabling public transit systems like the $5.2 billion “Solution” Barry unveiled.
Going off his prepared script to ensure Doss was given special recognition for his role in the passage of the IMPROVE Act, Democratic State Senator from Nashville, Jeff Yarbro, one of the event’s speakers explained, “This legislature’s biggest priority this year was addressing the growing traffic problems in middle Tennessee and across this whole state.”
Then, gesturing to acknowledge Doss sitting in the front row, “In order to do that, we really relied on a bipartisan coalition that included people like Barry Doss,” said Yarbro as seen at 11:16 in this video.
The IMPROVE Act enabled “local governments” designated as counties, including those with a metropolitan or consolidated form of government, with a population of more than 112,000 or cities with a population of more than 165,000 to implement tax surcharges to fund a public transit system.
Contradicting Yarbro’s declaration of the true objective of the IMPROVE Act, its chief promoter, Doss, focused his legislative sales pitch on the gas and diesel tax being a user fee, funded in large part by passers-through rather than Tennesseans, the increases from which would go toward much-needed and backlogged state and local road projects.
The 70th House District, which Doss represents in the Tennessee General Assembly, encompasses Lawrence and Giles Counties with 2010 U.S. Census estimated populations of just 42,117 and 28,925, respectively, are both excluded from the option of a public transit system.
The Tennessee Star sought to clarify with Doss his interest in supporting public transit systems that legally cannot be implemented in his district and whether his company, Doss Brothers, Inc., would pursue contracts related to Nashville/Davidson County’s public transit system, as he did with SR-7 in Ardmore.
In a follow-up email, The Star asked Rep. Doss the following three questions:
- As sponsor of the IMPROVE Act, was it one of your main objectives to allow local governments to develop and fund transit plans?
- Was a Nashville/Davidson County transit plan the primary objective for the enabling portion of the IMPROVE Act?
- Do you intend to bid, as a contractor or subcontractor, on any of the work related to Nashville/Davidson County’s transit plan, such as the tunnel?