Weather for the Following Location: Chattanooga on Map

Eley Says Chattanooga Eyed For Choice Lanes; Working With Mayor Kelly On Passenger Train Service

Passenger train service concept

Eley Says Chattanooga Eyed For Choice Lanes; Working With Mayor Kelly On Passenger Train Service

Thursday, March 21, 2024

Chattanooga has been named as a top-three candidate for the establishment of Tennessee’s pilot Choice Lanes, according to Tennessee Deputy Governor and Commissioner of Transportation Butch Eley. In a recent engagement at the Rotary Club of Chattanooga, Eley announced that traffic congestion studies indicated Chattanooga, along with Nashville and Knoxville, as preferred locations for the Choice Lanes. Conversely, Memphis was excluded from the list, pending the construction of a new bridge over the Mississippi River.

Emphasizing the state’s commitment to the success of the Choice Lanes, Eley hinted at the prioritization of these projects due to their self-paying ability. However, he did not disclose any specific location in Chattanooga. Previous discussions suggested the highly congested I-24 section at Moccasin Bend as a possible choice. The user fees for the Choice Lanes will be based on demand, as indicated in an information video played during the event. According to the video, states such as Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, and Texas have a proven track record of successful Choice Lane utilization.

Revitalizing Passenger Rail Service

Eley also mentioned his ongoing cooperation with Chattanooga Mayor Tim Kelly to reintroduce passenger rail service to Chattanooga. The proposed line will connect Bristol, Nashville, Memphis, Chicago, and Atlanta. The reinstatement of the rail lines harkens back to 1854, when a new railway line was connected to the Tennessee River, resulting in Chattanooga’s selection as a key location. Governor Bill Lee’s $3 billion Transportation Modernization Act of 2023 promises to make such transformational projects possible.

Changing the Approach to State Infrastructural Projects

The Transportation Modernization Act of 2023 promotes public-private partnerships for infrastructural development. This method allows private companies to design, construct, operate, and maintain new traffic lanes for a fee, thus sparing the state’s need to dip into the critically-needed highway fund. Eley mentioned the flatness of the highway fund revenues due to the ongoing modernization and the struggles its flow control poses.

An important aspect of the Modernization Act will be to align taxes for electric vehicles with those of gas-powered vehicles. The Act also pledges to develop better and more efficient ways to complete road projects. Eley shared that road projects currently take an average of 15 years to finish, with some even failing to reach completion due to escalated costs and insufficient funds. Going forward, the Tennessee Department of Transportation aims to ensure project completion before beginning new ones.

Reflecting on his association with former Hamilton County Mayor Claude Ramsey, who served as the Deputy Governor alongside Governor Bill Haslam, Eley expressed gratitude for Ramsey’s guidance. Bridging past wisdom with future infrastructure is key to developing Chattanooga for its residents.

Source: HERE News Network

Leave a Reply

Sign up for our Newsletter