‘Let’s Move Nashville’ a hit for some nearby county leaders

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – As we look deeper into the “Let’s Move Nashville” plan laid out by Nashville Mayor Megan Barry on Tuesday, we are learning more about the details and how they will impact people not only in Music City, but Middle Tennessee.

The plan lays out light rail, bus routes and a tunnel underground to connect everything downtown.

For thousands of Nashvillians, their only way around the city is on a bus.

“Just about every day, sometimes all day because sometimes it takes all day to get something done,” said Theresa Wallace.

As Nashville grows, riders said more buses and longer hours are needed to move through town.

“The way this town is growing, they are going to have to do something,” Wallace told News 2 getting off the bus in downtown.

Based on the “Let’s Move Nashville” plan, city leaders agree.

“One hundred new people every day to the region, they are all bringing their traffic with them,” said Steve Bland, the CEO of the Regional Transit Authority.

Part of Mayor Barry’s plan will extend the hours and create RAPID bus routes for riders to hop on and off easier.

“Extended service hours, more frequent service, what we are calling mobility on demand,” Bland said.

Bland told News 2, after their monthly meeting downtown, that more bus routes is only part of the puzzle when moving Nashville traffic.

“Within Davidson County about a 40 percent increase in bus service in the first two or three years,” said Bland.

The RAPID bus solution will pave the way for riders to avoid traffic jams on the most congested roads like West End, Dickerson, Hillsboro and Clarksville pikes.

“Nashville is growing and that would give me more opportunity to move around even more,” said frequent bus rider Carol Shull.

But the plan is only a starting point for the region.

“Actions speak louder than words,” said bus rider Howard Allen.

Mayor Barry said during her press conference on Tuesday that this was a launch pad for regional leaders to connect the pieces.

Right now for people outside of Davidson County, the only way to get downtown is fighting through traffic or using charter bus during the morning and evening rush hours.

“Sixty five percent of the people that live in Robertson County commute out of county every day to work,” said Robertson County Mayor Howard Bradley.

“This is just the starting point. It is not the end or the finish line,” explained Clarksville Mayor Kim McMillan.

Bradley said if this becomes a reality, his county will look at taking their own steps to connect the pieces.

“We currently have two morning and two evening buses. We need to have buses running pretty much around the clock,” said Bradley

RTA provides several bus routes during peak hours for nearby cities and counties, but still that is not enough.

“It affects us in the sense that we all have corridors that service the Nashville area,” said McMillan.

That is why she supports whatever it takes to make this happen.

“When you can see a train line that they can see and they can ride on, that is something that they would be willing to pay,” McMillan told News 2.

But smaller counties like Robertson and Maury counties have an extra roadblock to work through to get there.

“The legislation that was passed last year said that counties over 100,000 would only be able to participate in the initial referendum,” said Bradley.

Still, that will not stop regional leaders from using this plan as a regional traffic solution.

Voters will get to decide if raising taxes to fund the $5.2 billion plan next spring.