Metro Council to vote Tuesday on transit plan

(Graphic: WKRN)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A key vote on the transit plan expected to re-shape how people get around Nashville will be held Tuesday by the Metro Council.

The proposed 26-mile light rail will start at Gallatin Road and stretch from downtown to Briley Parkway. It also includes an underground tunnel underneath Fifth Avenue, as well as rapid buses.

The plan will cost $5.2 billion, paid through a half-cent sales tax hike and surcharge on the business, hotel, and rental tax.

Tuesday’s vote will be the third and final vote by the Metro Council on the transit plan. The vote determines if the proposal will be included on the ballot in May.

MORE: Nashville mayor looks to move transit plan into reality during 2018

If it is passed, the mayor said she knows everyone will take advantage of the system.

On Monday, Nashville Mayor Megan Barry told News 2 she is feeling hopeful.

“I’m excited about the opportunity to keep moving Nashville forward. And making sure that transit passes so voters will have the opportunity to vote for it in May,” said Mayor Barry.

The lead sponsor of the transit plan is concerned following last week’s admission by Mayor Barry that she had an extramarital affair with her former head of security.

“I’m sure someone’s gonna try to make, put off a vote to push the vote back, but that’s not something I’m for right now. Everyday we let it go, it’s another day that gets worse, more cars on the road,” said Councilman Jeremy Elrod.

The transit plan has caused debate across the country, specifically how effective it will be.

Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute Aaron Renn wrote an article titled “Why light rail makes no sense for Nashville.”

Renn said the reasons are quite obvious, as Nashville lacks the gigantic downtown employment centers like New York City and Chicago.

Renn also said transit and auto are not good substitutes for each other while rail transit works best with high density. Last but not least, the cost of the transit plan leaves Renn with concern.