FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 18, 2017
CONTACT: Rep. John Ray Clemmons
Haslam Funding Package a Step in Right Direction
Nashville, TN – Following Governor Bill Haslam’s announcement to address a portion of Tennessee’s transportation infrastructure needs, state Representative John Ray Clemmons (Nashville) vowed to continue his push for dedicated funds for mass transit to help the greater Nashville region address its worsening traffic woes. Since his election in 2014, Clemmons has worked with members of both parties in the state legislature to make the state’s transportation infrastructure system a funding priority and create a dedicated revenue stream for badly needed public transportation and mass transit projects.
This morning Rep. Clemmons, along with other legislators, participated in a conference call with the governor during which he laid out his proposed transportation-funding package.
In response to the substance communicated on the call, Clemmons stated as follows:
Though delayed and not wholly sufficient to address the needs of Nashville and the greater Nashville region, I applaud the governor for his prioritization of this issue at the outset of this session. Anytime an elected official proposes a tax increase, it suggests that all available alternative solutions were thoughtfully evaluated and considered and evidences a certain level of resolve and willingness to solve a serious problem. As many others and I have repeatedly stated, we must take the necessary steps to protect the fiscal integrity of our state’s “pay as you go” funding model. The governor’s proposal, as presented today, is a necessary and significant step in the right direction towards this end.
Today’s reality is that our residents, business community, and local economies are seriously threatened by a deteriorating and outdated transportation infrastructure system. New funds are required to repair, maintain and improve the system in place, and the governor’s proposal will go a long way towards addressing those needs over the next few years. It resembles, in large part, a piece of legislation that I drafted and have been promoting. However, the governor’s proposal stops short of ensuring that sufficient funds are available for or dedicated to the type of forward-thinking transportation system that our city and region so badly needs to continue our economic growth and prosperity.
For this reason, I will continue to promote the creation of a dedicated revenue stream at the state level for new, alternative forms of transportation in a manner that complements the proposed enabling legislation and protects the integrity of our “pay as you go” system. I look forward to continue working with the Governor on this important issue in the coming months to pass the best possible funding bill and hope that my colleagues on both sides of the aisle are willing to do the same for the benefit of Tennessee families and businesses alike.