NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Metro Council voted to pass the Let’s Move Nashville transit plan 34-2 during a meeting Tuesday night.
Changes were made to the language of the referendum before that vote, making clear the expected total cost of the project.
The initial cost is $5 billion however, the more accurate cost is closer to $9 billion, including debt payments, maintenance cost and interest.
The council debated whether to include the higher price tag but eventually passed the amendment 21-16.
It’s not what the Mayor’s office wanted because there is concern that the actual cost of the project would put a negative spin on it.
Council members tell News 2 it was important to be transparent with the voters.
“The amendment was important because there are different voices in the community arguing for different things and the idea was to have a compromise so that it would have accurate language, that would have both the upfront expense for capital and the long term cost for 15 years and both numbers are in there now,” explained Bob Mendes, At-Large Council-member.
Councilman Anthony Davis said he was “excited” the voters will soon be able to decide if the city moves forward with this plan.
“I think it’s important that we get this referendum on the ballot, just to let the people decide where we want to go with this large scale transit plan,” said Davis, who represent District 7.
Several community members were in the audience as the council voted, including Ethan Link.
“What we saw tonight was a lot of council people step up and say the most important thing to do is move forward because the cost of doing nothing, no matter you think the cost of the overall project is, the cost of doing nothing was far too high,” said Link, co-chair Transit Coalition.
The NoTax4Tracks campaign also reacted to the vote, releasing a statement that reads in part, “[Voters] will now have the opportunity to understand this plan will result in the highest sales tax plan in the country and will do nothing to help congestion or traffic on our streets.”
The pillars of the transit plan are an underground tunnel downtown and a high speed rail. It will be paid for in part by increasing sales tax and adding a surcharge to hotel, business and rental taxes.
The vote will be May 1.