Public transit options are key to Nashville's, and Middle Tennessee's, continued economic prosperity because public transit plays a predominant role in the economic development and competitiveness of metropolitan areas.
As cited in this week's New York Times article,
use of public transit rose throughout the country in 2011. In Middle Tennessee, ridership on Nashville Metropolitan Transit Authority
's (MTA) buses has increased 16 percent this fiscal year, and ridership on the Regional Transportation Authority's
(RTA) regional buses has experienced a 77 percent increase. In addition, the Music City Star commuter rail service saw a 26 percent jump in ridership during the same period.
As energy prices continue to rise, regional mass transit solutions will be even more essential for the growth of Nashville and Middle Tennessee. The Chamber, and our regional partners, feel strongly that we can, and must, do more to increase mass transit options as part of our overall economic development strategy.
Transit can help maintain our region’s economic vitality by connecting workers to jobs throughout the region. Many people travel across county lines to work every day, including the approximately 150,000 workers who commute into our urban core. Improved transit would also relieve traffic congestion, which would increase business productivity by reducing employee tardiness and absenteeism. In addition, efficient public transportation limits air pollution and increases individuals’ choice and mobility.
Fortunately, organizations such as MTA, RTA, Transit Alliance of Middle Tennessee
and Nashville Metropolitan Planning Organization
(MPO) are addressing the issues around improving mass transit. The Transit Alliance provides a conduit for the private sector to get involved in this discussion, and the Nashville MPO led the process of developing the 2035 Regional Transportation Plan, which encourages cooperation and coordinated decision making among Middle Tennessee counties and municipalities.
The Chamber also supports Nashville Mayor Karl Dean’s and the MTA’s announcement to move forward with the East-West Connector,
which proposes to connect Five Points in East Nashville to the intersection of White Bridge Road and Harding Road in West Nashville via bus rapid transit.
To learn more about the Chamber's priorities for mass transit in Middle Tennessee, and share your opinions with elected officials, visit the Business Voice
section of our website.