Alexander, Frist Annoucne $6 Million for Music City Star Rail Project as Part of Final Transportation Funding Conference Report

Posted on November 18, 2005

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) and Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today announced that the Fiscal Year 2006 Transportation, Treasury, Judiciary, and Housing & Urban Development Appropriations conference report includes $6 million for the Music City Star East Corridor Commuter Rail Project. “I worked very hard as the Majority Leader to ensure that the $6 million provided by the Senate earlier this year was included in the final conference report,” Frist said. “The project’s future could have been in jeopardy without this federal funding, and I am pleased that we were able to help Nashville area residents score an important victory today. The communities between Nashville and Lebanon are growing rapidly, and providing an alternative means of transportation will both help reduce congestion and benefit the local environment. The teamwork demonstrated by state and local officials has been instrumental throughout this process, and I greatly appreciate the work of everyone involved at all levels of government.” "This funding is critical to ensure that the Music City Star leaves the station in 2006," Alexander said. "Many of us in Congress and Tennessee have worked hard to see this project stay on track, but Senator Frist deserves special credit for securing the necessary funding this year. Let me also commend the hard work of all those in Middle Tennessee who have joined together to address the future transportation needs in the region. As Nashville continues to grow, investments in different modes of transportation will be needed to limit congestion and air pollution. This project is a step in that direction." The Music City Star East Corridor Commuter Rail Project will provide commuter rail passenger service between the Riverfront Station in downtown Nashville and the City of Lebanon in Wilson County. The 32 mile rail service has six planned stations and is scheduled to begin operations in early 2006. Congress has previously appropriated $18.8 million to support the East Corridor Commuter Rail Project, which has been used to upgrade existing Nashville and Eastern Railroad Authority freight tracks, purchase rail cars, and construct passenger stations and parking facilities. The project is funded jointly by the Federal Transit Administration, the Tennessee Department of Transportation, the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, Wilson County, and the cities of Mt. Juliet and Lebanon. The Regional Transportation Authority (RTA), which manages the project, will now be able to move toward completing the remaining construction work. When fully operational, the Music City Star East Corridor Commuter Rail will help to ease highway congestion and provide a viable transportation alternative for area residents. The conference report must now be passed by the House and Senate and receive the President’s signature before becoming law.