Regional rail committee debate over light rail in midtown - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Stephanie Rodrigues

Regional rail committee debate over light rail in midtown

Plans for a Light rail in Mid-town may come to a screeching halt!  "I think it's financially disastrous, I think its an extraordinary waste of money".  Especially if some Mid-South business owners have anything to say about it.... "We feel like our voices have been muted".  The debate, taken up at Friday's town hall meeting with lawmakers....is over construction of a proposed state of the art lightrail system that would link the airport to downtown.  Members of the Regional Rail Committee believe it would make a notable economic impact.  Two routes have been proposed, one cuts through Overton Square and the Cooper-Young district to Airways, the other goes primarily through Lamar, or North Parkway.  The idea is to take tourist dollars farther than just downtown....but critics of the Cooper-Young route say a lightrail would only MAGNIFY the current congestion, tempting many to take alternative roads...and bypassing the area altogether.  That prediction doesn't sit well with many business owners already fed up with current construction.  "Mid-town has come a long way on its own with private dollars, and we really don't need the help its kind of like thanks but no thanks, we really don't need the help. Its a solution to a problem that doesn't exist".  Some lawmakers agree.  "I'm opposed to it for the simple fact that it would be such a disruption".  They say the thousands of taxpayer transportation dollars being used should instead be used to relieve traffic tie ups...not create more.

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