On the eve of the third Williamson, Inc., Transportation Summit convened to seek solutions to mobility and cope with ever-growing auto traffic, Metro Nashville Mayor Megan Barry on Tuesday morning laid out an ambitious $5.2 billion transportation plan that would add 26 miles of light rail on six major corridors.
One of the rail lines would be on Nolensville Pike, leading from downtown Nashville to Harding Pike, about six miles north of the Williamson County line.
Barry hopes to get a vote on the ballot by next May that would authorize a series of tax increases, including hotel taxes, rental car taxes, sales taxes and business taxes to fund the system.
She anticipates the light rail system to begin operations by 2026 and be completed in 2032. The plan also would involve bus rapid transit.
Barry said Middle Tennessee could not pave its way out of its increasingly congested traffic situation.
“It’s important to me that we are equitable and fair with the taxes used to pay for transit, while understanding the need for a bold, comprehensive transportation system that will address Nashville’s needs now and in the future,” she said. “This is a balanced funding proposal that will ensure that visitors and out-of-county residents who may use our roads or transit system will pay their fair share along with residents who will have access to better jobs and transportation options as a result of this proposal.”
Once the transit improvement plan is fully reviewed by the community and approved by an independent CPA firm with criteria set forth by the Tennessee State Comptroller’s Office, the Metro Council will be asked to consider an ordinance that will authorize the plan to be placed on the ballot for the May 1, 2018 election.
At Williamson, Inc.’s Transportation Summit on Wednesday, Troy Russ, a land use and transportation planner who specializes in transit oriented development, bus rapid transit and express lanes, will be the keynote speaker.
The Summit takes place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Wednesday at the Cool Springs Marriott hotel.