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Report: Tennessee transit lacks dedicated funding sources

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(The Center Square) – Tennessee has two of the four among the largest 50 metro cities that doesn’t have set tax funding for transit agencies, according to a new report.

ThinkTennessee found Nashville and Memphis join Orlando and Hartford as the only four that don’t have dedicated transit funding. The report showed that 39 of those cities collect sales tax to fund transit with those taxes ranging from 0.375% to 2% bringing in an average $394 million annually.

Some municipalities also collect property tax, property title fees, mortgage recording fees and vehicle registration or sales fees to pay for transportation.

ThinkTennessee is a nonprofit think tank on state policy issues that was created in 2017.

“Dedicated funding is essential to a community’s ability to construct, operate, and maintain reliable, high-quality public transportation – from sidewalks to buses to light rail,” Erin Hafkenschiel, president of ThinkTennessee, said in a statement. “Cities and towns all over Tennessee are in dire need of more resources for transportation, and we hope that this data will empower local decision-makers to evaluate potential revenue sources for future investment in transit and multimodal infrastructure.”

ThinkTennessee attributed the lack of dedicated transportation funding to longer commute times and less transportation options in Nashville and Memphis.

ThinkTennessee cited a recent report from Forbes Home that ranked Nashville as having the worst commute in the country with residents spending nearly 30 minutes each day commuting to work and losing 41 hours to traffic congestion each year.

Memphis’ commute ranks 8% longer than peer cities.

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