NASHVILLE, TN — After more than two hours of presentations by both proponents and opponents at a Neighborhoods’ Transit Forum, members of the Coalition FOR Nashville Neighborhoods voted not to support the transit plan as currently proposed.
“Like many organizations, we are divided on this issue,” said Coalition Chair John Summers of Sylvan Park. “While our members recognize more needs to be done to address our transit issues,” added Summers, “the majority believes this current plan is not the best answer.”
Charlotte Cooper of Green Hills, who facilitated the question and answer session following the pro and con presentations, listed five major areas of concern:
First: cost. The proposed transit plan would double Metro’s debt. If new revenues are not sufficient to fund the plan, transit will compete with other essential services for funding.
Second: traffic congestion. According to both sides, only a small percentage of Nashville drivers will move to mass transit, leaving our roads and streets still crowded with cars.
Third: funding basis in sales tax. The proposed one-cent increase in the sales tax, a 10% increase on the current rate, will give Nashville one of the highest sales tax rates in the nation, placing an unfair burden on our poor and elderly.
Fourth: Disruption. Scheduled construction will disrupt our streets and the community for a decade until the project is built out.
Fifth: the transit-oriented districts (TODs). TODs will become drivers for higher density development along the corridors, accelerating gentrification, the loss of affordable housing, and disrupting established neighborhoods nearby.
“This is not an all or nothing situation,” said Vice Chair Logan Key of Lockeland Springs.
“We recognize people are entitled to have differing opinions on this issue. Nashville has neglected its mass transit system for years. Most of our members believe we first need to invest significantly in improving our current bus system, making it better, while we consider and develop other alternatives. Overall, our members feel this particular plan is not sufficient for our neighborhoods.”
The Coalition FOR Nashville Neighborhoods is composed of neighborhood activists from over 65 neighborhoods across Davidson County. The Coalition was initially formed to address the negative impact of short-term rentals on neighborhoods. The Coalition now serves as a collective voice on issues and concerns affecting the quality of life in our neighborhoods.