Wilson County leaders explore transit

Staff Reports • Updated Dec 28, 2017 at 8:00 AM

While Nashville debates a referendum for transit funding, Wilson County leaders explored options through recent discussions with interested citizens. 

Regional Transportation Authority staffers plan to share the key recommendations included the nMotion plan, a comprehensive document that outlines key strategies for the 10 Middle Tennessee counties for the next 25 years. Discussion includes the possibilities identified for Wilson County.

Wilson County residents participated in a June transportation summit, and civic clubs will have RTA share their findings with members. Hundreds have signed up to either attend an event or be updated with new information pertaining to transit.

The 2017 passage of Tennessee’s IMPROVE Act enables the state’s four largest cities and any county with more than 112,000 residents to create a voter referendum to propose dedicated funding for transit. Wilson County is among the five counties in Middle Tennessee with enough citizens to meet the criteria. 

“Before Wilson County would put forward a referendum, it is important to understand what citizens want and need for the future,” said Transit Alliance of Middle Tennessee CEO Jo Ann Graves, who, along with Cumberland Region Tomorrow, works with local leaders and organizations to arrange for regional discussions. “The IMPROVE Act puts the decision of what and how to invest in the hands of the citizens.”

 Wilson County is unique in that it is the only county with commuter train service to Nashville via the Music City Star. Lebanon currently benefits from new public-private investment in the development of Hamilton Springs, the state’s first transit-oriented development.

 “Many citizens focus on future public transit options, but are often surprised to learn about what’s currently available that could help to ease their regional mobility frustrations,” said RTA spokesperson Amanda Clelland. “The Music City Star commuter train is a hidden jewel for Wilson County. Not only are you bypassing traffic on I-40 each weekday, but it is also a great way to cut down on costs like fuel or wear and tear on your personal vehicle.”

“With more employers and industries creating jobs across the region, the option to improve transportation to and from those economic centers is critical. The entire region must work together to help address the achievable goal of lucrative employment, affordable workplace housing, and reasonable commute times,” said Cumberland Region Tomorrow CEO Carol Hudler.

 Citizen groups or service clubs interested in learning more about the transit and mobility options recommended for their area can contact either the Transit Alliance of Middle Tennessee at 615-587-0199 or Cumberland Region Tomorrow at 615-986-2698 to schedule a program.


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