MT. JULIET, Tenn. - A financial dispute that could impact thousands of people who ride the Music City Star in Wilson County, moved one step closer to being resolved.
Mt. Juliet City Commissioners voted 4-1 to approve an ordinance Monday night that stated the city will pay the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) $30,000, if the RTA makes improvements to the city’s Music City Star station.
Specifically, the city is asking for increased parking spots and bike racks for riders.
The RTA said Mt. Juliet has not paid its $30,000 annual operations payment for the last four years. Mt. Juliet city leaders said they stopped making payments when the RTA wasn’t willing to make improvements to the station. City leaders maintained the $30,000 is an optional fee and not required by law. The city has maintained its roughly $2,500 yearly dues without any problem.
City leaders said they felt the $30,000 was better spent on improvement projects within the city.
Records show Mt. Juliet has the largest ridership in the corridor. Some local riders have expressed concerns about what the dispute will mean for the future of the train.
Music City Star service begins in the East Corridor and runs from Lebanon to downtown Nashville and includes six stations – Lebanon, Martha, Mt. Juliet, Hermitage, Donelson and Riverfront Station.
The train station property is owned by the RTA and includes parking and a contiguous field of land.
The RTA board recently discussed ways to address the financial shortfall. Possible options included
charging for parking in Mt. Juliet, increasing ticket prices, or stopping service all together.
The Mt. Juliet ordinance will come up for a second vote at the meeting on December 11. The RTA board meets November 15 and may discuss the issue again then.