The public got a look Monday morning at new mass transit proposals for Nashville.
Transportation officials narrowed the options to either a light rail system or rapid bus transit system, which would require a dedicated bus lane on some streets.
The light rail system would cost about $275 million, and the buses would cost about $136 million, about half the cost.
The overview of the corridor study was presented at the Watermark restaurant on 12th Avenue South.
Earlier this year, city leaders commissioned the study to look at options for the route running from East Nashville's Five Points neighborhood, across the Cumberland River, down Broadway-West End and ending at White Bridge Road.
"A Bus Rapid Transit system with dedicated lanes and fixed stations offers all the benefits of a modern streetcar system without the expense," Mayor Karl Dean said in a news release. "If you look at the cost difference between BRT and streetcars, the choice is clear. It is also clear that doing nothing cannot be an option."Without any transit improvements, traffic along the East-West Connector is anticipated to increase by nearly 50 percent by 2035, and travelers will be stuck in traffic approximately eight minutes longer than today. "Bus Rapid Transit is a prudent investment that is custom-made for Nashville and will transform the way employees, residents, tourists and students move around our city," Dean said. "BRT will help individuals get to their destination along this corridor faster than they can in a car. I look forward to talking with Nashvillians in the coming months about this rapid transit solution. It is important for us to move forward and move forward boldly."
The rapid bus option would be eligible for federal funding, but it's unclear how much local money will be needed. Mayor Karl Dean said he wants to see the project completed in four years.
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