BRADENTON, Fla. — The Nashville Metropolitan Transit Authority has hired Parsons Brinckerhoff to do a year-long study of high-capacity transit options to shuttle workers and tourists to and from the city’s busy downtown business and entertainment districts.
The authority selected Parsons Brinckerhoff last week from among three firms that responded to a request for proposals.
The $1.18 million study funded by the Federal Transit Administration will analyze alternative modes of transportation such as a streetcar, light rail, and bus rapid transit along the five-mile route.
Along with preparing cost estimates for each mode, the study will explore available financing options, including the use of municipal bonds and public-private partnerships, according to MTA planning director Jim McAteer.
“Part of this process will be identifying the costs to operate, the costs to build, and the potential world of revenue opportunities we could look at,” he said.
The study corridor runs from Broadway downtown to a growing area of the city known as the West End, which includes Vanderbilt University, medical centers, condominiums, business, and an entertainment and hotel district.
The new transit options are designed to provide riders connectivity to the city’s existing bus and a 32-mile commuter rail line called the Music City Star, McAteer said.
Additional transit options would complement the city’s $585 million bond-financed convention center, which is under construction and expected to open in 2013.
The study will identify a preferred transportation mode for the corridor and is structured to meet existing FTA requirements so that the project can compete for additional federal funds.
Mayor Karl Dean said the project would integrate with proposed regional transportation mass transit plans that are under consideration.
“As those efforts continue to move forward, we also have to find ways to improve how people get around our city,” Dean said in a statement. “It’s also important as we work to attract new residents, new jobs, and grow in a sustainable way that will maintain our high quality of life.”
Parsons Brinckerhoff will collect data and do community outreach as part of the study.
The firm will consult with a technical advisory committee consisting of MTA staff, the Nashville Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, the Nashville planning department and public works, the Tennessee Department of Transportation, and the FTA. The technical committee will be involved in the development and evaluation of transportation and land use alternatives as well as other study aspects.
The study will include consultation with a corridor steering committee composed of local businesses, organizations, and other stakeholders, as well as the Mayor’s transportation caucus, and the Transit Alliance of Middle Tennessee.
After the completion of the alternatives and analysis study, which is due in 12 months, a second phase will involve preliminary engineering and a third phase will be the final design work.
The project has been structured so that it can qualify for federal funds but the study will include options to accomplish it solely with regional funding, McAteer said.