Monday, August 31, 2020

Mayor Cooper's new $1.5B transit plan. Show me the money!

by Rod Williams - Mayor Cooper has proposed a new $1.5 billion transit plan for Nashville just as if we were awash in money and people were clamoring for more public transportation options.  I don't guess he has noticed. The Corona-19 government shut down has caused a $200 million hit to revenue projections this year.  And, in December we may very likely see a referendum pass that rolls back the 34% (37% in the General Services District) tax increase passed in June.  

Also, the public is not on board.  In 2018 the public voted against a $9 billion transit plan  that would have build a light rail, bus rapid transit, downtown tunnel system.  Since the government imposed the economic shutdown, WeGo has been losing millions of dollars. Not only are fewer people riding because they are working from home or have no place to go, but mass transit is a spreader of the disease. On a train or plane or bus, you are breathing the expelled breath of every other person in the conveyance vehicle. Mass transit is a health hazard. 

I walk almost every day a trek that takes me down 8th Avenue South over to 12th Avenue South to Belmont Avenue and back.  I am not walking at rush hour so I don't know if anyone is riding the bus then but I always notice if anyone is riding the bus.  Almost every bus I see is empty except for the driver.  Sometimes there may be one or two people on the bus but most of the time they are empty. Why take these big buses to the suburbs and back just as if there were riders for these busses? 

Would this not be a good time to think outside the box of doing things the way they have always been done and consider something innovative? Nashville could take the lead in creating a mostly private, paratransit, demand-driven, public transportation system. Now when riding the bus is a health hazard and demand is down would be the time to innovate and experiment.

For more on the Mayor's transit proposal, see this link.  For more on my thoughts on pubic transportation see, What to do about Mass Transit and traffic congestion


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