Tennessee Representative Joe Pitts
Clarksville, TN – One of the more important issues facing our growing community and our state is the need to improve our transportation infrastructure. If you drive anywhere in Clarksville-Montgomery County, at any time of day or night, you will find yourself in traffic unlike any I have witnessed during my lifetime in this community.
During my travels around our community this year, and in speaking with various groups, I have mentioned that the Tennessee General Assembly, during our legislative session that ended in April, neglected to enact a plan to improve the transportation system and create a dedicated funding stream to pay for it. That was one of my regrets during and since the session ended.
In recent days, Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam has announced that he would be traveling our great state over the next few months to discuss this very issue. The Governor will hold meetings throughout the state to highlight the need for a long range plan, and more importantly how we pay for it.
Without a doubt, the plan is a critical next step in our process. I will actively engage in the discussions and hope we can have a conversation that will result in road improvements, and pay more than just lip service to mass transit implementation.
That said, I have a couple requirements heading into the start of the discussion. First I would like to see a serious pro-forma financial plan for any revenue enhancement or tax increase. That should include a county by county, city by city analysis of the impact on our citizens. How much revenue will we raise and who pays?
Second, I need some assurance that Clarksville-Montgomery County’s transportation needs will be adequately addressed. In the fastest growing, or second fastest, depending on which article you read, community in the state, our needs have to be addressed in order to gain my support. We have had road projects on the drawing board for years, i.e. SR374 extension to connect Hwy 79 to 149 and SR48/13, Trenton Road from Exit One to Wilma Rudolph Boulevard, and Warfield Boulevard, not to mention the need for sidewalks along Fort Campbell Boulevard and Wilma Rudolph Boulevard. That does not take into account other new projects that are needed including the adequate funding of a system to move people from Clarksville to our adjoining communities for work or pleasure.
That may seem self-serving but it is a legislative imperative for me. Show me how we benefit from any tax increase, and I will provide my support. Anything short of a written assurance and accurate estimates of tax revenue will be difficult to support.
I am interested in your thoughts on this matter and will be sending regular updates to you as this process evolves. As always, thank you for the opportunity to serve you in the Tennessee General Assembly, and if I can help you in the future, please contact me.