Monday, March 29, 2004

Storm Clouds On The Horizon?

Courtesy of the The Nashville Files comes this legislative report, via the Nashville Tennessean, about the failure of a "commuter rail" line to get funding commitments from the State. Mostly it's due to a question of need and doubts on the part of Governor Bredesen, as well as extended pushbacks on starting the project.

This might be bad news for the Madison Avenue Trolley. The project is encountering some resistance in the community, both citizens and businesses. And the whole thing relies increasingly on City/County and State funding as it goes along. The present line was built with 80% Federal funding, but that drops to 60% and less in later, more expensive, extensions.

Will local legislators make a press for this? Or has it already gotten commitments? Or can we hope the whole silly thing stops right here? After a few years, we can hope, the truncated line will fall off in ridership to the point where it will be scaled back; then the scale-back will turn to abandonment as regular bus needs become more pressing. Then we'll just have some odd tracks and street construction to show off to visitors.

Or will the big-money guys who are steering spending into the downtown get their public-money transportation solution to moving folks from their "Manhattan on the Mississippi" to the inconveniently placed airport?

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