Nashville Transit Referendum | Nashville Public Radio

Nashville Transit Referendum

Credit Nashville Mayor's Office

On May 1, 2018, Nashville voters rejected a referendum that would have led to a large-scale overhaul of the city's public transit system.

In the lead-up to that vote, WPLN broke down key details of the 55-page transit improvement program — also billed as "Let's Move Nashville" —  with ongoing coverage.

Explanatory stories included:

For future Nashville transit proposals, bookmark WPLN.org/transit.

David Briley
File / WPLN


Nashville Mayor David Briley says he's setting to work on a new plan for mass transit in Nashville following this week's defeat of a $5.4 billion proposal featuring light rail.

Briley says he's already spoken with some opponents of the failed transit plan, and he intends to push forward with improvements to the city's bus system. He says Nashville's competitiveness depends on the city having a working transportation system.

transit vote
NoTaxForTracks.com

Whether for or against Nashville’s failed multi-billion-dollar mass transit plan, the question for Nashville residents has become: What led to such a lopsided vote?

Tony Gonzalez / WPLN


Now that it's decided that Nashville won't expand its transit system, the head of the MTA says his team must continue looking for other ways to improve.

 

Steve Bland expects to analyze the election results and come back to voters again. Bland says he's "absolutely certain" that traffic congestion is getting worse, so whatever proposal comes next will likely have the attention of even more Nashvillians.

Blake Farmer / WPLN

Nashville voters resoundingly rejected the multi-billion-dollar transit proposal Tuesday — telling officials to find another way to respond to the city’s growth and traffic congestion.

In the end, it wasn't even close. Some 64 percent of Nashville voters went against the plan. That's in an election that drew a surprising turnout of more than 120,000 people.

vote Nashville
Tony Gonzalez / WPLN

Supporters of the transit plan conceded defeat shortly after 8 p.m. after early returns showed an insurmountable lead for opponents of the plan.

polling place
Tony Gonzalez / WPLN

Phone calls, mailers, text messages, door knocking and a crush of TV ads have blanketed Nashvillians in the final days before the city’s vote on a multi-billion-dollar mass transit proposal.

The ground game has intensified — and diversified — in the final hours, and a few last public endorsements, for and against, have come in.

bus rendering
MTA

One of the lingering disagreements over Nashville’s transit proposal is how it would impact development along proposed light rail and rapid bus corridors — and if it would intensify the gentrification already happening.

courtesy MTA

Still undecided on Nashville’s transit plan? Planning to spend the weekend studying up before Election Day on Tuesday? Your questions have informed much of WPLN’s coverage —  wpln.org/transit — and a final set of answers to your submitted questions follows below.

One of the most important — and complex — pieces of Nashville’s mass transit proposal is its funding strategy. There’s been significant focus on proposed increases to four local taxes, which would partly fund the projects. Yet those taxes are only a portion of the plan.

So how, in total, would the transit overhaul be funded? And if the financing projections are off target, how would Metro adjust?

Blake Farmer / WPLN

Backers of Nashville's $5.4 billion transit plan argue that construction of light rail and expansion of bus service could be good for the city's health. That's because riding typically means much more walking.

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