Hutto answered residents’ questions during the meeting, with the first directed at a potential for bus services in Wilson County.
“It is being discussed and what brings that about is the IMPROVE Act,” Hutto said.
The IMPROVE Act includes a local option for municipalities to hold their own referendums for tax increases to fund local transportation needs.
Hutto said he believed the county could benefit from bus service for residents, which would allow residents without transportation the opportunity to shop and travel around Wilson County.
“Also, it will allow commuters to come out of Nashville on the train, and people can come and get on that bus and shop at Providence or the [Lebanon Outlet Marketplace], or wherever else and have a way to go back and forth,” Hutto said.
Hutto, who also serves as the board vice chairman for the Regional Transit Authority, said the group discussed additional service and trips for the Music City Star, which only services Wilson County. He said many riders have voiced support for additional midday, night and weekend trips.
Smaller-scale transportation methods, typically aimed at businesses, are also in the works, according to Hutto.
“We’ve worked with a group called VanStar. We’ve put them in touch with two or three different people already,” Hutto said.
VanStar operates through a vanpool, which is a group of five to 15 people who choose to ride together to and from work. Currently VanStar serves 14 Middle Tennessee counties, including Wilson. The company provides vehicles, insurance and all the maintenance and repairs. Riders share monthly commute costs.
“Somebody on that route drives that van, so they don’t pay anything to come into work, and the rest of them ride at a moderate rate – a lot cheaper than what they would driving their own vehicle to work,” Hutto said.
County parks could also provide an alternate transportation and fitness option for county residents.
“There’s an opportunity for us to be the first county in the state that’s linking two state parks together – Long Hunter and [Cedars of Lebanon],” said Hutto, who said the county would look to take advantage of a service trail no longer in use.
“We’re going to try and see if we could convert that into a 5-mile track that would connect those two parks, so people could get in and ride from one park to the other,” said Hutto, who said the county could also potentially use the trail for marathons and other events.