Lucy Wang

Tennessee Senate Passes Koch Brothers-Backed Ban on Bus Rapid Transit

by , 04/16/14
filed under: Green Transportation, News

koch brothers, tennessee, transportation, mass transit, tennessee senate, bus rapid transit, bus rapid transit ban, brt, brt system, brt ban, amp brt, nashville, amp bus rapid transit, mass transit, karl dean, americans for prosperity

Despite the country’s recent transportation victories on bike share expansion and other mass transit investments, Tennessee seems to have taken a giant step backwards. Last week, the Tennessee Senate overwhelmingly voted to ban any kind of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) construction in the state. The ban was heavily backed by the wealthy Koch Brothers–who some may remember for their devastating oil spill in Texas last year–and seems to have been specifically targeted at squashing the 7.1 mile AMP BRT project in Nashville.



koch brothers, tennessee, transportation, mass transit, tennessee senate, bus rapid transit, bus rapid transit ban, brt, brt system, brt ban, amp brt, nashville, amp bus rapid transit, mass transit, karl dean, americans for prosperity

The ban, which WIRED calls “mind-boggling,” aims to block any kind of mass transit project that unloads passengers in the center lane, a key feature of BRT. Unlike typical buses, BRT is a higher-capacity and often lower-cost alternative that operates in its own dedicated lane, similar to light rail. Widely adopted all around the world, this innovative system has been proven to be faster, more reliable, and effective at reducing commute times.

Related: World’s Largest Bus: China’s 300 Passenger Youngman JNP6250G Set to Serve Beijing and Hangzhou

Luckily, however, Nashville’s AMP project and the future of BRT in Tennessee still have a chance in the state House of Representatives. The Koch Brothers’ American for Prosperity organization, however, are determined to use their lobbying influences to formalize the ban. Pressure and concerns over safety have even forced Nashville’s mayor Karl Dean to examine redesigning the bus rapid transit system without dedicated lanes–a move that would likely cripple the effectiveness of BRT. For now, however, Nashville commuters can rest assured that their long commutes in traffic won’t be going away anytime soon.

Via WIRED

Images via Nashville AMP Facebook

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3 Comments

  1. Billy Badude June 3, 2014 at 1:46 am

    Damn the cost, and damn the Koch brothers!! We need better infrastructure and less dependency on fossil fuels. If you’ve got a better plan, great. If not, don’t get in the way of progress. Your money is no good here.

  2. Mike Vaccaro June 3, 2014 at 12:35 am

    You guys post some good articles, but this is stupid political propaganda. Really a turn off. You must think we are ALL idiots? Stick to non-propaganda please.

  3. Chris April 17, 2014 at 4:17 pm

    “Last week, the Tennessee Senate overwhelmingly voted to ban any kind of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) construction in the state.”

    Since when does the 1 or 2 counties out of 99 in TN that have metropolitan governments equal the entire state?

    We’re talking about a bus route that had an estimated cost of $25M per mile ($174M for 7.1 miles). For comparison newly constructed high speed rail routes in Europe and Japan only cost $10M per mile.

    Massive, sprawling urban areas like Nashville need better public transit options but bus routes that cost $25M per mile are not one of them.

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