With population numbers continuing to increase across the Nashville metro area, the need for more efficient public transit is more evident than ever. And according to a recent report from the Nashville Business Journal, the city has officially signed off on unprecedented funding for $1.2 billion in mass transit projects over the next 25 years.
As noted by findings from the Tennessee Department of Transportation, a record number of vehicles traveled along many of Nashville’s busiest roads, causing commute times and traffic delays to skyrocket. And with the inevitable traffic delays that coincide with development and population surges come much higher transportation costs for both local businesses and their employees.
So what does this mean moving forward?
Understanding the need for transit improvements and enhancements, Metro Transit Authority unveiled three individual plans last month that range from implementing a complex light rail and streetcar system to a much less costly overall to the city’s existing bus network. Of the three plans, the most ambitious is a $5.4 billion project that would take decades to finish and involve adding a mutli-modal regional light rail system that runs to all four major Nashville corridors: Murfreesboro, Charlotte, Gallatin, and Nolensville pikes.
The second of the three plans still involves connecting the city with every major commuter city or neighborhood in the area, only with an enhanced “freeway bus system” rather than with a more efficient light rail system. Similarly, the third and most cost-effective plan also includes expanding already existing bus routes while also making improvement to the Music City Star, Nashville’s current commuter rail service.
Whichever direction that city takes, the new Nashville mass transit enhancements won’t officially be completed until 2040.