BY JUSTIN OWEN
Last Tuesday, Nashville voters drove a truck over the city’s proposed $9 billion transit plan and then backed over it again, thoroughly killing it. Yesterday, city officials offered further proof of why voters don’t trust them when it comes to improving our ability to get around town. While the city’s plan was heavy on trains, it was light on free market solutions such as ridesharing and other modes of popular transportation. And while the train plan has stalled, at least for now, the free market continues to offer ideas to help make people more mobile.
Just three days ago, a new service cropped up in Nashville called Bird Scooters. The business allows people to access a two-wheeled scooter via an app, ride it to their destination, drop it, and move on. This is convenient for those who have just a little too far to walk, but not far enough to drive or take an Uber.
But of course, our Big Government protectors were having none of it. City officials swiftly shut down the business until they could come up with a framework to regulate it. Some complaints that have been lodged include crowding up our sidewalks and (I kid you not) that an abandoned scooter could become a tripping hazard for an oblivious pedestrian. If we need the government to prevent us from avoiding falling over things in plain view, a sensible citywide transit plan is the least of our worries. We probably should just give up altogether.
In reality, this is just one example of government bureaucrats erecting roadblocks to progress. Innovation works. An enterprising person spots a problem, and offers a solution. This same entrepreneurial spirit will resolve many of our traffic woes in Nashville. But only if the government doesn’t stand in the way.
This type of thing is ultimately why two-thirds of Nashville voters rejected the city’s transit plan last week. It was an ungodly expensive, antiquated, single-focused train plan designed by the city’s elite and thrown on the masses. Real solutions will be aplenty and will come from the ground up. And some of them won’t cost taxpayers a dime.
As we prepare to move forward to solve our city’s traffic woes, we must embrace innovation and free enterprise, not stamp it out at every turn. The result will be well worth the risk of a few people tripping over a scooter.