Nashville Mayor Megan Barry announced more details of her administration’s proposed transit plan, saying it would create jobs and have a significant economic impact.
Barry said Nashville currently has the lowest unemployment rate of the top 50 metro areas in the U.S but she added that not all are “really good” jobs. The project is expected to create some 3,850 jobs each year.
Barry said the plan would also help workers get from place to place more quickly, while also giving seniors more options to get around the city.
You may not think you’d ride our transit system, but I bet once you see buses and light rail passing you on the road, you’ll take a hard look at your options, just as other cities have experienced. #TransitForNash
— Megan Barry (@MayorMeganBarry) December 12, 2017
By the year 2040, the average weekday ridership per mile of light rail track in Nashville is expected to be 2,230 people.
“People need more options to get around. When transit service is fast, reliable, convenient and affordable, many will choose it over driving,” said Mayor Barry. ”But buses in Nashville today are stuck in the same traffic as everyone in cars. This isn’t because transit is failing us, it’s because we’re failing our transit network. We now have a chance to reverse that and give it the tools it needs to succeed.”
While Mayor Megan Barry was at a press conference, a mass transit advocate was on the streets working to gain support.
Shea Waller said, "We're not trying to knock out the buses cause we need the bus system to go off in the neighborhoods!"
Some taxpayers don't want to foot the $5.2 billion bill.
"I just think it's a big waste of money!" (anonymous)
As a bus rider, Waller believes that more buses, more routes, a downtown tunnel, and the light rails will mean fewer cars on the roads.
Waller said, "Ya know they don't want to sit bumper to bumper. People are tired of being late for work. Ya know and stuck in traffic though so using public transportation gets you there a whole lot quicker especially eliminating all of the cars on the road."
Mayor Barry said non-supporters may get on board once construction is complete.
Barry said, "Once this plan is completed you will be able to travel from the corner of Harding and Nolensville to SoBro in 19 minutes."
Waller wants city leaders to know that citizens want a voice.
Waller said, "Right now we're just trying to collect 30,000 signatures so that we can get this petition so that we can get it on the ballot in May so we can get the public to vote for it!"
By 2040, Barry said 76% of Davidson County residents will live within a half-mile of transit service. Nearly 90 percent of jobs are expected to be nearby.
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