SELC endorses smarter transportation plan for Middle Tennessee

Creating viable alternatives to driving, like those offered at this Nashville-area transit station, is a key focus of the recently finalized 25-year plan for the region’s transportation needs. (© Jerry Greer)

By adopting a strong regional transportation plan earlier this month, the Nashville area has set itself on a path toward more sustainable transportation and smarter growth.

Traffic congestion is rapidly rising in Middle Tennessee, and there is increasing recognition that population growth, sprawling development patterns, and a lack of alternatives to driving are taxing the existing transportation network. This reality becomes even more worrisome when you consider that the region’s population is expected to grow by over 1 million by 2040, to more than 3 million residents. To prepare for that growth, the Nashville Metro Planning Organization spent months engaging stakeholders and soliciting feedback as they drafted the 25-year plan that covers a seven-county region. 

During development of the “Middle Tennessee Connected, 2016-2040 Regional Transportation Plan”, SELC weighed in as a stakeholder on the Climate Adaptation Plan. SELC also submitted comments on the plan supportive of expanding solutions beyond the default reaction to build more new roads. To that end, SELC endorsed inclusion of alternatives such as transit, improving the efficiency of the existing system, and attention to issues such as accessibility, land use, and environmental impacts.

The final version of the plan encompasses 200 projects that would require $8.5 billion in funding from federal, state and local sources. Of those 200, nine projects were identified as top priorities including upgrades to commuter rail service in Wilson County and technology upgrades along busy corridors to ease traffic flow without building new roads.

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