technology, it would respond to the flow of traffic. You wouldn’t get in those situations where there’s a light and you’re stuck there for five or ten minutes and when you’re about ready to go through the red light because you think it’s broken, it changes, right? [laughs] That shouldn’t happen. Some of our neighborhoods are in those situations where some people are turning left and some people are turning right and you’re stuck behind this long line of cars. If you had a right turning lane, more people would be able to get out. I would like to do that as a short-term remedy. I’d also like to encourage more major employers to institute flex time. I don’t want to make it bad for every hour of the day because right now, we can figure out when it’s going to be really bad, but flex time and more work-at-home technology. There’s technology now that an employer can actually know if the employee is working when he or she is supposed to be at their desk. And for people who want to work at home, not everyone wants to work at home, but for those that want to work at home, they ought to be able to do so. And I think that’s the trend of the future, and it probably makes for better quality of life. If they want to work at midnight, and that’s when they’re best productive—if they get their work done, it should be between them and the employer. Long term, it’s a regional problem. So, I have to work with the regional governments, but also with TDOT and the federal government. I don’t think that a rail system is what Nashville needs. Every place that I read about where they have tried to build one, or they already have one, it’s failed or it’s been triple the cost of what the voters were told. I think an aboveground situation, with the stacked highways, so that people who
DR. CAROL M. SWAIN grew up in poverty in the rural South and overcame tremendous odds to earn several degrees, eventually becoming a prominent figure in the world of conservative politics. She is the author or editor of eight books and is known for being outspoken on issues of race, evangelical politics and immigration, making regular appearances as a TV analyst. She is a former professor of political science and professor of law at Vanderbilt University. She describes herself as a truth-speaker whose vision calls for the same level of transparency from our elected officials. swainformayor.com want to go through Nashville won’t necessarily get caught in local traffic—that is a less-costly solution. As mayor, part of what I would do would be to work with people that have already been working on these issues and again, work with the regional governments and TDOT for long-term solutions. But some of the major highways, even like Charlotte, aren’t even owned by the city—some of those are highways that you’ve got to work with the federal government and you’ve got to work with the state. I was told recently that all the time that we were pushing the rail system, no one pushing the rail system had spoken to TDOT and they’ve not even said what their goals were. Is it to relieve congestion? Is it to make it easier for the traffic to flow, to bypass Nashville? They did not sit down to articulate
the goals for Nashville, and that’s something that I would remedy. COOPER: We need a transportation plan sooner than 2024. We’ve created the problem, let’s go ahead and address the problem. In transportation, we do need a community up, time-to-work metric. The last plan simply didn’t deliver enough benefits to enough people. So, my job is going to be to deliver a plan that people do see as delivering benefits to them. And it should start with intersection improvements and turning lane improvements and smart traffic lights. There’s a lot of low-hanging fruit that we should go ahead and do and not wait for something glamorous that’s hugely expensive and is not delivering benefits to everybody. So, let’s go ahead and get on it. We’ve got the problem, let’s do what we can to address it.
June–July 2019 | 372WN.com