Thursday, October 19, 2017

Light rail part of $5.2B Nashville transport plan

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Light rail part of $5.2B Nashville transport plan Office of Mayor Megan Barry

A new transportation proposal introduced by Nashville Mayor Megan Barry calls for long-term investment to improve the city's transportation system and includes 26 miles of light rail.

The mayor says the proposal, Let's Move Nashville: Metro's Transportation Solution, is a plan that aligns with the IMPROVE Act, which authorizes local government to collect surcharges on various taxes and fees currently being assessed by the local government, if approved by voters by referendum, passed earlier this year. In early 2018, Metro Council members will be asked to put the plan on the ballot for the May 2018 countywide vote.

The plan calls for $5.2 billion in infrastructure investment that will improve existing bus service, incorporate rapid bus service along four city arteries, develop a light-rail system to open in 2026, construct an underground tunnel downtown to connect the region's center to the proposed light-rail system, develop neighborhood transit centers and enhance the transportation network with improvements such as better sidewalks and better signalization.

"Investment in transportation today is an investment in Nashville's future. More transportation options will make life better for Nashvillians, whether you moved here last summer or you've spent your entire life here, and it will ensure that the city continues to be a great place to live when today's children have children of their own," said Mayor Barry. "This comprehensive transportation solution will connect more neighborhoods with each other and open the door even wider to the city's job, education and entertainment centers. We will make sure that no one is left behind."

The mayor says a range of fees would fund the plan, including business, sales and tourism taxes. Additionally, Metro would seek federal grants where available.

The mayor's office explains that the plan developed following many years of study and community engagements through the nMotion strategic plan. A series of open houses will be held to gather input on the plan. Once the transit improvement plan is fully reviewed by the community and approved by an independent CPA firm with criteria set forth by the Tennessee State Comptroller's Office, the Metro Council will be asked to consider an ordinance that will authorize the plan to be placed on the ballot for the May 1, 2018 election.

"We must act now to address the need for better transportation options if our city is going to continue to grow and thrive in the future," said Vice Mayor David Briley. "The Metro Council will carefully review Mayor Barry's proposal and give every resident of Nashville a chance to be heard before Metro's transportation solution goes to the ballot."





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