Moving Forward Publishes Inaugural Transit Scorecard for Middle Tennessee

Moving Forward, a transit initiative spearheaded by Middle Tennessee business and community leaders, released its inaugural transit scorecard this week. The report details the progress that has been made – and the challenges that still lie ahead – to meet the goals necessary to create multimodal transportation options for our region.

The next, and most critical, step is to secure funding from local and state sources. It’s crucial for our region’s continued vitality for the state to pass enabling legislation, during the current legislative session, which would allow each county to ask its citizens to vote on whether they want to raise local funds for transportation improvements – roads, bridges and/or transit.

Since its inception in August 2015, the Moving Forward initiative has been focused on five objectives that will create a path to offer transit choices to Middle Tennesseans:

  1. Support the completion of an RTA and MTA Strategic Plan update by the end of 2016 (complete). In September 2016, the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) and the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) adopted the nMotion plan.
  2. Support the identification and passage of state and federal government revenue enhancements for transit by the end of 2017 (federal revenue – complete; state revenue – still to be achieved). In December 2015, President Barack Obama signed the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation act (FAST Act) into law, providing federal funding for transportation and transit, but only through 2020. At the state level, Moving Forward plans to engage in the conversation on raising state revenues for transportation infrastructure.
  3. Ensure at least 30,000 engagements with Middle Tennesseans in the transit conversation by the end of 2017 (underway). MTA/RTA achieved 19,964 public engagements around the nMotion plan by the time of its adoption.
  4. Identify and secure a local dedicated funding source for transit in the region by the end of 2018 (still to be achieved). In November 2016, Moving Forward’s Revenue and Finance Task Force released the Victoria Transport Policy Institute study on regional transit funding, which found seven sources worthy of further consideration. A second study will provide elected officials with an estimate of how much revenue can be generated per county for these funding sources.
  5. Support breaking ground on the first rapid-transit project in the region by the end of 2020 (still to be achieved). This objective is ambitious but critical, since most major transit projects take at least seven years from inception to completion.

While MTA/RTA and elected officials throughout the region continue to work on the five objectives listed, Moving Forward volunteers will be actively engaged in the following areas:

  • State transportation infrastructure conversation. The state’s gas tax has not been increased since 1989 and is not meeting the state’s needs, resulting in a $6 billion backlog of road and bridge projects, which does not include transit needs. The state gas tax and transportation infrastructure solution must also support Middle Tennessee’s transit needs.
  • Enabling legislation for counties to seek local funding for transportation. The Middle Tennessee Mayors’ Caucus and Moving Forward support state legislation that would allow voters in individual counties to raise local revenues from a variety of sources for transportation and transit needs through a referendum.
  • Downtown mobility study. The nMotion plan proposes that transit move through downtown on “transit emphasis corridors,” but does not identify the corridors. The Nashville/Davidson County Mayor’s Office has charged Metro Public Works to undertake a Downtown Mobility Study to identify transit emphasis corridors.
  • High-capacity transit corridor studies. The adopted nMotion plan called for further study on four corridors recommended for light rail service within Davidson County – Charlotte, Gallatin, Murfreesboro and Nolensville – to demonstrate how higher-order transit would function.
  • Public engagement. In the coming year, Moving Forward’s Public Engagement Task Force will reach out to various civic, professional and recreational groups to brief them on the region’s transit conversation and what it means for these groups and their members.

Learn more about Moving Forward and how you can get involved here.

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