As debate on Nashville’s proposed $9 billion transit plan grows, some are asking if the system would have the flexibility to change as needed or even if light rail is relevant in the 21st century.
“If voters approve Mayor Megan Barry‘s transit plan in a few months, how tied would Nashville be to the specific details of the multibillion-dollar plan? The answer is up for debate,” the Nashville Business Journal says.
“Transit advocates argue there’s room to adapt and modify the plan after the vote, while opponents argue the referendum binds Nashville to Barry’s proposed changes,” the publication says. “During a transit-focused Metro Council meeting in January, Rich Riebeling, Metro’s chief operating officer, said there “would have to be some common-sense provisions going into the future if some technology we don’t know about today comes into play that says you shouldn’t do this, then we’d have to come back to the council, future legislators, and make the adjustments at that time.”
One group says rail systems do nothing to relieve traffic congestion. Go Nashville! bills itself as “average people who support efficient, affordable, sustainable private/public transit.” The group posted on Twitter Feb. 9 that each of the Top 10 cities in the nation for the longest commute time have rail systems like Barry and her allies are proposing.
Meanwhile, some argue that light rail is the wave of the past.
SmartTransit’s Twitter page says it is from “Middle Tennesseans who believe railroads should be kept where they belong, in the history books. We want to be part of the Transit Technology Revolution.” The group tweeted a link Feb. 16 to a YouTube video showing a successful test drive of the Yandex self-driving car in Moscow following a snowstorm.
“While Nashville’s Mayor wants to invest $9 BILLION in outdated, obsolete railoads, THIS is going on in Moscow,” the group said in response to the car’s test drive.