The Mayor's short-changing of rapid transit raises one of the problems promoting growth at the expense of infrastructure when the two are not mutually exclusive. The pro-growth folks are gung ho about using tax dollars, for example, to build a bridge across the Cumberland to support a proposed development that they say will provide more accessible jobs to Nashvillians within the urban core. But if there is not a well-developed transit system in place, how are those people going to cross that bridge to get to those jobs?
I couldn't be more pleased that Mayor Dean found a way to enhance funding for public schools and ensured that funding for full staffing of our police department will exist. In fact, where MTA is concerned, he actually made a small improvement: He authorized funding that will allow all Metro employees to join Vanderbilt and the state to ride MTA as an employee benefit.
Unfortunately, what he has done with this budget is increase demand while restricting supply. The mayor's budget, far short of allowing MTA to enhance its service provision, requires the board to review the budget and plan route cuts during FY2009.
While it's possible that the mayor's bus rapid transit idea might begin to see the light of day this year, it's frustrating to me as a regular rider that we are now facing a brand new terminal that will actually serve as a home for worse service.
If we're cutting bus routes for the public, we shouldn't be building new bridges for the sake of a couple of private developers.