Fans of The Simpsons will remember a long-ago episode (from 1993, to be exact) where an out-of-town huckster tries to sell the citizens of Springfield on the idea of forking over their money to build a monorail. And there was a bunch of singing involved. Now, Music City could start singing the same tune, according to Wired.

Some Tennessee politicos are pitching the idea of a monorail that would run between Nashville and the town of Murfreesboro about 35 miles to the southeast. The idea is being offered in response to rising traffic congestion along I-24, and the Tennessee Senate voted 31-0 in favor of a monorail-feasibility study. While the project could run as high as $1 billion, the land-acquisition costs will not be as high as it might be, since the monorail would run on the I-24 median.

Today, the most famous monorails in the US are the ones at Disneyland and Walt Disney World and the one-mile version Seattle built for the 1962 World's Fair. And for those with an eye on how transportation technology can be used to hurt the environment a little less, it's worth noting that the proposed monorail line runs pretty much right by Smyrna, Tennessee. That's where Nissan builds its all-electric Leaf vehicles for the US. D'oh!


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 17 Comments
      Brett Kling
      • 11 Months Ago
      I love how they are proposing a monorail and are fighting a bus rapid transit (BRT) project in Nashville itself!
      Levine Levine
      • 11 Months Ago
      When you want billions in cash from the Federal government, you propose a light rail. After construction,, you can apply for millions more for maintenance and operation. There's not a single, slow or fast public passenger rail in the world that has made a profit. In fact, all are taxpayer subsidized.
        no1bondfan
        • 11 Months Ago
        @Levine Levine
        Roads don't pay for themselves either. Airports are built with public funds. Waterways are patrolled by the Coast Guard. The military ensures that mideast oil is available. What is your point? All modes of transportation are subsidized.
      CoolWaters
      • 11 Months Ago
      This is the Perfect example of WHY governments go into debt. - Just one generation doesn't bear the cost of a benefit that spans multi-generations. - Build in Solar on the parking lots and turn this into a self powered money maker, of course would be more expensive, but would pay for itself.
      lad
      • 11 Months Ago
      Excellent Idea.
      Ryan
      • 11 Months Ago
      The monorail in Vegas would be great if it went the last mile to the airport... Taxis and rental car companies are making sure that doesn't happen though.
      atc98092
      • 11 Months Ago
      Here in Seattle they tried to make the Monorail actually go somewhere besides between the fair site and downtown. It was a disaster, because as usual the politicians in that city screwed it up so bad the costs skyrocketed. The public, which had originally voted for it, shut it down. Spent millions for nothing. Now they've built a light rail system that doesn't go where people want to go. Good intentions, they can't seem to do anything right. Now they're digging a tunnel to replace an old viaduct that carries a ton of traffic. The tunnel digger hit something that has damaged it, and it will be another six months before it can get going again. And it hasn't even reached the "hard part" yet. Sheesh. Glad I live in the suburbs and don't need to drive through the city for anything.
      CoolWaters
      • 11 Months Ago
      This is the Perfect example of WHY governments go into debt. - Just one generation doesn't bear the cost of a benefit that spans multi-generations. - Build in Solar on the parking lots and turn this into a self powered money maker, of course would be more expensive, but would pay for itself.
      • 11 Months Ago
      An high speed suspended electric monorail, equipped with 16 in-wheel motors that can get up to 250 km/h- 150 mph. It’s called Trensquebec. They are trying to push the project for more than a year now. It would cost 19 millions/mi instead of 48 millions /mi for a standard Highspeed train. For the 35 miles run it would cost 665 millions. Since it uses in-wheel motor and tire it can climb hills and no need for over pass since it is hung in the middle of existing highway lanes and rails can be mounted on the side of existing bridges. Here is a french only video i really suggest you take a look at just to get a clear idea: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=01aWsiFGsqM All they need is 200 millions to make a 5 km rail and start testing. If you need any other translation let me know. I'll be glad if I can help you in any way. http://www.trensquebec.qc.ca/
      delsolo1
      • 11 Months Ago
      The monorail is a pipe dream cause red states don't believe in public transportation.
      brotherkenny4
      • 11 Months Ago
      I can't believe the ultra christian right who support the oil/guns/drug paradigm would do something as lefty as built public transportation. Shouldn't they just double down on the oil wars in drug producing countries like afghanistan (which was very profitable for the banks) and the next one Venezuela? Granted we already have all the drugs from Columbia, but the oil in Venezuela is big and we can ship the columbian drugs back on the oil tankers, since the two countries are right next door to each other.
        CoolWaters
        • 11 Months Ago
        @brotherkenny4
        The Koch's are actually against it. As it will be electric powered, and the Koch's sell coal, the Koch's aren't too bright.
          brotherkenny4
          • 11 Months Ago
          @CoolWaters
          I had not heard that they were against it, but then I pay little attention to them. They are only seemingly important because of the particular right wing stances they take, not because they are particularly astute thinkers. However, they may have an issue and see longer term than we might. Many of the oligarch do. I think that as we move toward the use of more domestic electricity for all purposes, including transportation, the nitche markets that grow up around it will be more likely innovative and that in itself can be problematic for maintaining the stagnant markets that are so lucrative. As I think EVs will lead to greater grid storage and solar and wind storage because a stable battery industry will be created by the EVs, any other technology that handles electricity for a novel purpose will trigger innovation that could spin off unexpected invention. There is nothing worse than unexpected invention for the people who already make all the money. Thus their political bent and obstructionist style. Funny though how they cradle their inhibiting efforts in the language of freedom. It seems classically Orwellian.
      Joeviocoe
      • 11 Months Ago
      Only works if you also build a mega "park-n-ride" parking lot at the one end. And then... people have to work near the other end (or at least have good public transportation that spiders throughout the area. People won't use monorails if it takes away freedom of travel. I don't know of any place in Tennessee with a good public transit system... so unless the monorail is strictly for a particular destination, it will likely fail.
        CoolWaters
        • 11 Months Ago
        @Joeviocoe
        Yes. To be successful, it Must have Large parking lots all along the route. Cover them in Solar and make money.
          Joeviocoe
          • 11 Months Ago
          @CoolWaters
          Public transportation is unlikely to ever "make money". They exist to indirectly spur the economy, by getting workers to their jobs, and shoppers to the stores. The taxes gained from the larger economy is the only way to pay back the costs. Also, for commuters, parking lots only work on the suburban side. The morning destinations MUST have terminals within walking distance of the job location. Or a good public transit system that people can easily transfer.
      Ziv
      • 11 Months Ago
      Monorails have a lot of positive features, potentially. I kind of hoped that the monorail mono beam group would find a city that would volunteer to be the first new monorail in the US in years. The fact that much of the work can be done off site and then the columns and the beams can be lifted into place relatively quickly and efficiently looked intriguing. It pretty much died 10 years ago, though.
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