$5.2 Billion Transit Plan Includes Light Rail, Downtown Tunnel

Posted at 8:51 AM, Oct 17, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-17 22:15:56-04

Nashville Mayor Megan Barry has unveiled a massive, $5.2 billion transit project that would include the city's first-ever light rail system. 

Barry unveiled “Let's Move Nashville: Metro's Transportation Solution" on Tuesday, calling the project the "largest in modern Nashville history." 

See the full plan unveiled by the mayor's office

The plan included 26 miles of light rail service and a rapid, upgraded bus fleet with service every 15 minutes along the busiest corridors. 

Barry said the light rail service would start on Gallatin Road and would include a Cheatham County rail line to get service to North Nashville. 

The plan also called for an aggressive underground tunnel that would run beneath 5th Avenue from Charlotte to Lower Broadway. 

Barry noted the plan would not be "free" and proposed a four-part tax increase, including: 20 percent business tax, 1/4 cent raise in hotel tax, 20 percent surcharge on rental cars and 1/2 percent sales tax surcharge beginning in July 2018, graduating to one percent in 2023. 

Studies show nearly 47 percent of sales tax collected in Davidson County is generated by out-of-county residents.  

The financial plan would also include free and reduced fairs for Nashvillians experiencing poverty. 

Governor Haslam's hard-fought IMPROVE Act allowed local governments to raise their own transit funds via voter referendum. Barry signaled that she wants it on the ballot for this May.

Funding for this project relies solely on the referendum being passed.

Read More: 
Mayor's Office Expects Transit Tax Vote In 2018