May might seem like a long time from now. Flowers, sunshine and sunbathing.

But as the seasons change here in Middle Tennessee, one thing always seems to stay the same: traffic.

On May 1, there is a popular vote coming up on Mayor Megan Barry’s mass transit plan, which could take two decades to complete and cost nearly $9 billion. For all that, the plan as-is may not have all that much of an effect on actual congestion, the real complaint of the average commuter, something on which a growing number of experts agree.

But, there is another vote, though this one is not scheduled and might not ever be.

If it happens, it will be in the Tennessee State House of Representatives. This vote, which could pass a measure to increase Tennessee’s abysmal rate of HOV lane usage, would not take years to have an effect. It would not necessitate a single cent of construction. It would be cost-neutral or even possibly create money.

And, most importantly and to the point, it could like a surgeon with a scalpel cut congestion and commute times significantly. Rather than attempting to take on transit, traffic and congestion in one fell swoop, it identifies a single issue that could be simply fixed. It could improve commute times on the 127 miles of highway around Nashville with HOV lanes— more than half of all total highway miles in the area.

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