Will Nashville Embrace 19th Or 21st Century Transit Technology?

As debate on Nashville’s proposed $9 billion transit plan grows, some are asking if the system would have the flexibility to change as needed or even if light rail is relevant in the 21st century.

“If voters approve Mayor Megan Barry‘s transit plan in a few months, how tied would Nashville be to the specific details of the multibillion-dollar plan? The answer is up for debate,” the Nashville Business Journal says.

“Transit advocates argue there’s room to adapt and modify the plan after the vote, while opponents argue the referendum binds Nashville to Barry’s proposed changes,” the publication says. “During a transit-focused Metro Council meeting in January, Rich Riebeling, Metro’s chief operating officer, said there “would have to be some common-sense provisions going into the future if some technology we don’t know about today comes into play that says you shouldn’t do this, then we’d have to come back to the council, future legislators, and make the adjustments at that time.”

One group says rail systems do nothing to relieve traffic congestion. Go Nashville! bills itself as “average people who support efficient, affordable, sustainable private/public transit.” The group posted on Twitter Feb. 9 that each of the Top 10 cities in the nation for the longest commute time have rail systems like Barry and her allies are proposing.

Meanwhile, some argue that light rail is the wave of the past.

SmartTransit’s Twitter page says it is from “Middle Tennesseans who believe railroads should be kept where they belong, in the history books. We want to be part of the Transit Technology Revolution.” The group tweeted a link Feb. 16 to a YouTube video showing a successful test drive of the Yandex self-driving car in Moscow following a snowstorm.

“While Nashville’s Mayor wants to invest  $9 BILLION in outdated, obsolete railoads, THIS is going on in Moscow,” the group said in response to the car’s test drive.

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4 Thoughts to “Will Nashville Embrace 19th Or 21st Century Transit Technology?”

  1. Caldwell Hancock

    Crude it may be but let’s tell Barry she can screw anybody she wants on HER OWN DIME, but not us and not on our dIMe!

  2. This is a complete $9 billion dollar boondoggle. Technology is changing so rapidly as to likely obsolete any rail system. What happens if more people have flex time work in the 13 years it’s going to take build this white elephant? How about other innovations and automation? AI for traffic control. More use of driverless vehicles.

    This is like a communist economic plan but instead of the 5 years, its over a decade long! How ridiculous and how much of a burden on tax payers. This is how a typical liberal thinks about the future. They only look to big dollar projects so as to put their name on the “event”.

    If Nashville voters approve this plan, they are tethering themselves to the past and to never ending increasing costs and taxes and budget over runs. Not a single one of the major transit projects, from the Big Dig to the LAX-SFO high speed rail, meets budget.

    Yes on high quality and comfortable electric buses while continuing to evaluate new technology over time. No on fixed infrastructure like light rail. Haslam’s gas tax and accompanying legislation created the opportunity for this crazy plan. Meanwhile, I have not seen a single street paving or improvement in Williamson County since I started paying his stupid tax! In fact, we see more potholes than ever and no action!

    As was identified in a previous Star article: “The Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) total costs for “Administration” plus “Headquarters Operation,” what would be considered “overhead” in the business world, have grown by 63 percent, from $78.9 to $117 million, in the seven years between Gov. Haslam’s first budget in FY 2011-12 and his proposed budget for FY 2017-18. While TDOTs overhead has skyrocketed, spending on one of the main Programs for road improvements, “Highway Infrastructure,” has gone down by more than 30 percent in that same time period.”

    1. 83ragtop50

      Why electric buses? They may be “clean” running but they have to be charged using electricity generated by some method – therefore they re not truly “clean”.

  3. Kevin

    Sure Riebeling will say anything to get the referedum to pass. Once it passes (I hope and pray that it doesn’t), he’ll be say “Oh, no, we can’t change it, the people voted for it!” Snake!

    Even a blind man can see that once a set of tracks gets laid, there ain’t no “moving” it! Busses or other independently navigated modes could litterally change by the hour! Cellphones changed how people operate by giving them access to information. The next innovation in transit will be information-based. Future transit vehicles will go where and when people want it.

    Light rail on the other hand forces people to go when and where light rail takes them. Great for Developers. Great for Government Central Planners. Not so great for creative, collaborative, free spirited Nashville artists, entrepreneurs and every day folk!