Council members raise concerns with coming transit vote

Posted at 8:42 PM, Dec 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-09 22:34:59-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Ahead of a key vote to create a transit plan for Nashville, some council members are raising concerns about details in the plan.

Metro Council will take up the vote Tuesday night. However, one council member, Kathleen Murphy, said she doesn't believe the public had been given ample opportunity to review the plan. It's 348 pages long.

"There hasn't been constituent and Nashvillian input after it's been written," said Councilwoman Murphy. "They did a good job of having community meetings. Then a plan was filed, it's very large. It's over 300 pages and expected the council to vote upon it and endorse it. I haven't had feedback from my constituents and they haven't even had time to look at this plan and give me this feedback."

The plan promises bus routes, sidewalk improvements, an upgraded traffic system and traffic flow studies. $1.6 billion is the proposed budget over 10-15 years.

According to a spokesperson from the mayor's office, they've spent a year getting feedback from Nashvillians before releasing this plan.

"We're very confident in the part of the process that deeply engaged the community and suggested that those listening sessions and we very much treated them as listening sessions rather that presenting sessions, that is very well reflected in this plan," said Faye DiMissamo, Senior Transportation and Infrastructure Advisor to Mayor John Cooper.

The plan has the city looking to both state and federal funding sources for some of the projects. However, Murphy and Council Member Freddie O'Connell said the lack of funding was an issue for them.

They said they don't think they can vote for the document as it's currently written.

"We're off to a good start, but we've had a lot of good starts. A lot of false starts. And as I've said before, we need to start showing results before we continue to expect Nashvillians to buy into expectations and promises and hopes to projects that may not come in their lifetime," said Murphy.

Murphy said she hoped the mayor's office hears these concerns and defers the vote back until after the holidays. She said she hopes to talk to neighborhood leaders in her district about it in the meantime.