Fight Over Future Of Transit In Nashville Heats Up

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The mayor's office may have changed hands, but the fight over transit has been heating up.

Mayor David Briley stood next to Megan Barry when the transit plan was announced, but now, he will be the face of it.

"It really is Nashville's plan. It was never just her plan," Shelley Courtington said.

Transit For Nashville launched this ad campaign Wednesday.

"We are full steam ahead. We've been full steam ahead," Courtington said. "We are looking forward to the future. We're looking forward to early voting which is just around the corner."

On the flip side, "No Tax for Tracks" has upped their signage in the area.

"It's too much for train tracks which is old technology basically applying 8-track technology in a high definition, mp3 world."

They're against the multi-billion dollar plan because of its price tag.

"An extra 20 percent that's put on businesses and small businesses across the city," Carr said. "There are over 39,000 businesses that would be taxed. A tax on rental cars, the hotel tax, and that's too much tax to pay for a plan that essentially does not alleviate the traffic congestion."

They're also concerned about a tax rate that would be 10.25 percent by 2023.

It would help pay for various projects like the rail system. For example, one light rail would start in downtown Nashville and travel along Murfreesboro Pike all the way to the Nashville International Airport.

"Ninety percent of the money, of the $9 billion in revenue, is being focused on the 26 miles of light rail," Carr said.

While the price tag concerns them, supporters said it's not as bad as you think.

"Fifty percent of the taxes are paid by people who are outside of Nashville," Courtington said.

According to a recent Vanderbilt poll, 56 percent of participants believe improving transportation is a priority.

Voters will decide if the transit plan passes on May 1.

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