Transit Referendum Amendment Clarifies 14-Year Cost

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - An amendment to the Let's Move Nashville transit plan will hopes to clarify the $8.95 billion 14-year cost to voters, though the plan was peddled as a $5.4 billion.

Yet, that cost is to establish the infrastructure of both light rail and bus system upgrades. The $8.95 billion figure represents the cost of the $5.4 billion plus the costs of operation, debt and inflation through 2032.

"Refusing to entertain even an accurate description of the 8.9 billion dollars leave the impression with the electorate that it's a close vote, that if we say 8.9 billion dollars it's going to lose," said Metro Council Member Bob Mendes, who proposed the measure. Mendes said he and five other council members thought it would be more transparent to voters to include that final cost on the May ballot.

Council member Jeremy Elrod had another take.

"You're going to go buy a car," said Elrod. "You're going to have a certain number that you buy that car for. It's not going to include how much the gas is for the next 20 years that you're owning the car. It's not going to include how much the tags are for the next 20 years, how much it is to clean for the next 10 years or how many oil changes you're going to have to have and how much it's going to cost."

Mendes said the ordinance was essentially paying for an operating company worth billions of dollars. The measure was supported by 21 other council members and passed.

Because of this, both the $5.4 billion price tag and the $8.95 billion funding number will be on the ballot.

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