State Senator Bill Ketron (R-Murfreesboro) won approval Wednesday of key legislation calling for a study to determine the feasibility of a monorail public transportation system along the I-24 Nashville Southeast Corridor that connects downtown Murfreesboro to Nashville. Senate Bill 2515, which was approved by the Senate Transportation Committee, directs the Department of Transportation to conduct the study, which would include the costs of construction, operation and financing of the monorail system.
“This 32-mile strip of interstate is the most congested corridor in the state,” said Senator Ketron. “The current population of Rutherford County is about 290,000. By 2025 it is estimated to be at 600,000 and by 2035 it is estimated that there will be another million residents in the greater middle Tennessee area. This presents a great problem in terms of traffic issues. We have to be forward thinking regarding what we are going to do when we add this many new vehicles to an already congested roadway.”
Ketron said he has conducted numerous meetings with the department and other transportation officials about the project since last summer. He said that a monorail could handle up to 55,000 passengers per day, which would greatly reduce future congestion.
“We are left with no other means to handle congestion that will alleviate this kind of population growth,” said Senator Ketron. “A great number of my constituents travel this corridor every day and find that their commute is getting longer. This study is a critical step in giving us a roadmap on how this project could be accomplished,” added Ketron.
The bill requires the study to identify all public and private funding sources, including amounts that can reasonably be anticipated and estimated costs and revenues. It requires TDOT to report its findings and recommendations to the Senate and House Transportation Committees by February 1, 2015.
Submitted by Darlene Schlicher
Senate Republican Press Secretary