I recently wrote about the changes in Nashville's needs for infrastructure over the last 50 years. One element of infrastructure that warrants more attention is transit.
Anyone who has spent much time in Nashville knows that getting around is more difficult today than it was 5 years ago. Likewise, anyone paying attention wonders how we can handle all the new Nashvillians predicted to come in the next 25 years with the sidewalks, streets and mass transit we currently have. It's equally apparent that The Nashville Party Barge cannot deal with these problems alone.
Now that we've started from a point where we all agree, let's see if we can build from there:
The City creates a document every year which presents a concise picture of our finances and infrastructure - the Certified Annual Financial Report. The 2014 Report can be found here. One interesting part of the CAFR where I've been looking for years is the report on the Condition Rating of Transportation Network (Page B -108). The report rates the condition of our bridges and streets. It also estimates how much we should be spending annually to maintain what we have. Take a look at the numbers and you'll see how much needs to be done each year.
I identify the CAFR for two reasons. First, we need to build from a perspective of agreement as we talk about the necessary, significant investments we must make in our transit system. I believe the CAFR is a document upon which we should all rely in this discussion. Second, these numbers underscore the necessity of persistence. If we do not make the required investments every year, we end up with a lot of ground to make up.
Documents like the CAFR will be key resources for a new Council that may have 30 new members. As Vice Mayor, I'll use my experience reviewing these documents to ensure that new Councilmembers have objective, transparent information upon which to rely. And I'll empower the council members who are willing to use this kind of information when they make investment decisions for the City.
In the meantime:
I will post more this week about transit as I use MTA for most of my personal transit needs. We've got a good start with MTA, the ability to make a big difference if we work together, and everything to gain from our efforts. I hope you will join me in this campaign. Start by joining us Thursday as we Ride and Dine.