He told Rotarians that, as this area continues to post record population growth, it is going to be more and more important for us to get people to and from their workplaces with minimal traffic congestion and maximum economic benefit.
Bone said commuter rail is only one answer to this challenge. He noted that high speed bus routes are being developed in several counties and that at least one other county is also exploring commuter rail.
The Music City Star commuter service, he pointed out, continues to break ridership records. This years ridership numbers are almost 15 percent greater than last year. He said while much of the increase in the number of riders can be attributed to high gas prices, there are other considerations that are attracting passengers. He noted that riders can work on laptops while traveling or just relax and not be concerned with traffic congestion.
Currently the Music City Star, with six stations stretching between Lebanon and Nashvilles Riverfront Park on the 32-mile route, is hosting more than 1,100 passenger trips on the average each day.
The Transit Alliance of Middle Tennessee, a nonprofit-volunteer organization, is comprised of county and municipal mayors and individual citizens from the nine counties adjacent to Davidson County as well as Davidson.
Bone, who is a founding partner of the law firm Bone, McAllester and Norton, was instrumental in creating and organizing the Transit Alliance. Ed Cole, a former assistant commissioner of transportation for the State of Tennessee, serves as executive director of the Transit Alliance.
Extending his remarks beyond mass transit, Bone told the group about a regional event being held today in Nashville that will focus on regionalism and smart growth issues for Middle Tennessee.
The Power of Ten Summit, to be held at the War Memorial Auditorium in Nashville, is presented annually and hosted by Cumberland Region Tomorrow. While the public is invited to attend, the audience includes many local government officials, state legislators, city and county planners, civic leaders and others in decision making positions to influence issues relating to growth in the region.
Bone will serve as moderator for the event today.