A Koch Brothers-backed group has gotten the Tennessee state senate to pass a bill that would make Nashville’s proposed bus rapid transit system illegal. It’s like the Koch brothers are trying to be our country’s most-hated executives, and it’s even more evidence that democracy is for sale here in America.
The legislation was introduced by Senator Jim Tracy, a Republican, after a conversation with the Tennessee director of Americans For Prosperity. The bill would ban any city metro from building a dedicated-lane for a bas rapid transit system on any state highway. The reasoning is that having a dedicated bus lane is somehow distracting and dangerous for other drivers, and would actually worsen congestion even though more Americans than ever are using public transportation systems.
This legislation would cut the legs out from under Nashville’s proposed 7.1 mile Amp rapid transit system, a $174 million project that designers say will reduce congestion and commute times…along a state road. The local project has been in the works for five years, and even though bus rapid transit systems are among the most cost-efficient means of public transit, the state Senate voted to kill the project. It still has to pass the House, and be signed by governor Bill Haslam also a Republican who has nevertheless expressed doubt about the dangerous precedent set by this bill. Even though Nashville is in the heart of a red state, it’s make plenty of efforts to green the city, including the purchase of seven Proterra electric buses.
It’s a hideous, selfish perversion of democracy that affects literally millions of people, and to what end? What do the Koch Brothers and Americans For Prosperity gain from blocking public transit projects?It’s as mystifying as it is frustrating, and it could have devastating consequences if it somehow sneaks into law.
Thankfully, there seems to be enough support for the Amp, and doubt about the bill, that makes its passage unlikely. But even if this effort fails, there are dozens more Koch brothers-backed efforts to keep America reliant on fossil fuels, and it’s up to us to tell them where they can stick their backwards-thinking and billions of dollars.
Source: Think Progress