Is there a chance the track could bend?
State Senator Bill Ketron (R-Murfreesboro) won approval today 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.
With minimal discussion, the House Civil Justice Committee easily advanced the guns-in-parks bill as-is this afternoon, a measure removing local governments' authority to ban guns in their respective municipalities' parks. Next stop: the House Finance Ways and Means Subcommittee. As a reminder, this bill passed the Senate last month 26-7. And Gov. Bill Haslam is no fan of it.
The Senate is going to try some bipartisan discussion, equal-time stuff on a child-care development block grant bill. It's an old-school approach and Lamar Alexander is getting credit for it:
During several weeks in January and February, aides said, Schumer and Alexander quietly orchestrated what both described as a “modest experiment” based on a simple premise: Senators should be able to debate, amend and pass legislation supported by members of both parties.
“I’ve only been here 14 years, and Alexander’s been there about 11,” Schumer said. “But we were there, both of us were there and remember when the Senate used to legislate, and thoroughly enjoyed it and wish it would return.”
In a separate interview, Alexander said that they are “trying to start a week focused on what you can do, not what you can’t do.”
“This requires restraint by all senators,” he said. “But occasionally we ought to try.”
This one's having a much easier go of it than is Richard Floyd's bill for tuition for students who are themselves here illegally.
Haslam says philosophically he’d love to cut taxes, but realistically, the state can’t afford another cut this year. “We’re going to be scrapping even to get to where we thought we would be” in terms of state revenue, Haslam says.
Via the Chattanooga Times Free Press, Joe Carr's attempt to get voters to declare their party loyalty died in committee today.
The bill would have required each voter in a primary election to check a box agreeing that the party election "I am voting in most closely represents my values and beliefs."
It went down on a voice vote as fellow Republicans refused to support the measure.