NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – In three months Davidson County citizens will decide the future of mass transit as they say yes or no to the $9 billion funding referendum known as Let’s Move Nashville.
But what happens to solve traffic congestion if the referendum fails?
“Well, if it doesn’t pass, then you just had your best traffic day today,” Nashville Mayor Megan Barry said.
When asked if that means there’s no Plan B, Mayor Barry said, “I’ve got to tell you… this is the plan that has been put together over years. There has been lots of community input. I think Nashvillians are optimistic and they want to move us to the future.”
In other words, if the multi-billion dollar plans fails, Barry said citizens should prepare for more gridlock.
Barry added, “I believe they are going to vote for this.”
Bill Purcell was the mayor of Nashville from 1999 to 2007.
When asked if the outcome of the referendum is undecided at this point, he said, “Three months out – today, I think it is undecided. I think most of Nashville is undecided, but by the time we get there, I think they will be fully informed, they will be ready and they will be supportive of the future.”
News 2 asked the former mayor about a Plan B if the referendum failed. He said if the plan fails, then it would result in a reboot of the mass transition discussion.
“You would simply start again,” he explained. “The downside here of course, is if you start again by the time you get there, it’s years later and it’s more expensive and you have gone through the pain and the suffering of the people during the time in which there is no significant improvement in our conditions.”
He continued, “This particular moment in time is the moment where you either push onto something much better for the longer term or you continue to struggle.”
The exact cost of the plan is one thing that remains at the top of voters’ minds. Construction of a light rail system is estimated at $5.4 billion. The overall cost of construction and operations is about $9 billion.
The plan was sold to voters as a $5.4 billion project. Mayor Barry said that was no mistake.
“I don’t think so,” she said. “I think both are looking at to put on the ballot is what the capital cost investment is for today, but this is going to cost money over time. But I think when voters got to push the button on this – what they are going to be making a decision on is whether they want transit.”
Voters go to the polls to decide on the issue on May 1.