Sunday, 5 January 2003

Nicely making the right noises

Incoming TDOT commissioner Gerald Nicely faces some real challenges in his new job, but he's making the right noises in this interview with the Nashville Tennessean. As I said before, I think TDOT's problems are more perception than reality; however, there are some real issues:

  • The politicization of the project allocation process is unseemly and needs to stop. If Phil Bredesen follows through on his word and concentrates on merit (traffic needs and economic development) in selecting projects, this will be a major improvement.

  • The “Tennessee Rail Plan” is largely dead-on-arrival and needs to be scrapped. It will do virtually nothing to reduce the need for additional capacity on I-40 between Memphis and Knoxville. The only part that makes any sense is the rerouting of rail lines and consolidation of intermodal facilities in Memphis.

  • Delaying or reconsidering the south leg of TN 840 at this point would be counterproductive.

  • Reconsidering the I-475 “Orange Route” selection would be similarly counterproductive; by all measures, it is the best alternative. A route via Pellissippi Parkway (a so-called “Green Route”) would just increase congestion on I-40/75 and would not function as an effective bypass route.

  • Any construction on the north leg of TN 840 should be delayed until after construction of I-475 and I-69 is well underway.