After Nashville Mayor Megan Barry’s Fare Reductions, Just 16 Percent of The Metropolitan Transit Authority Funding Is Self-Generated


Mayor Megan Barry’s July 1, 2017, Metro Budget included proposed fare reductions and no-cost transfers for Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) users, making the “self-generated” portion of MTA’s funding a mere 16 percent, with the balance coming from Metro Government at 60 percent, the State at 6 percent and Federal at 19 percent.

In Mayor Barry’s budget for fiscal year 2017-18 adopted by the Metro Council and approved by the MTA Board, effective August 1, 2017, “2nd Ride Transfers” within two hours of initial boarding were eliminated and nearly all other fares were reduced by at least 24 percent and up to as much as 40 percent. The total cost passed on to taxpayers to compensate for just the fee restructuring portion of next year’s MTA budget is $2.75 million.

MTA is the public transportation agency based in Nashville that utilizes buses primarily through Music City Central, a paratransit specialized van service for people with disabilities, the Lebanon-to-Nashville Music City Star commuter rail, the free Music City Circuit and contracted services with the Regional Transit Authority (RTA) for service areas connected to Nashville/Davidson County.

In 2016, MTA reported that of its $73.6 million budgeted operating funding, $16.8 million or 23 percent was self-generated through user fares, advertising and contracted services. While the 2016 actual performance fell short of that goal by $1.4 million, the expectations were lowered 7 percent further for 2017-18.

In Mayor Barry’s 2017-18 budget, the reduced revenues from the fee restructuring program and ridership declines combined with the increases in expenses for health insurance, wages, fringe benefits, workers compensation, fuel costs and expansion of services resulted in a total increase of $7 million to the MTA budget that will come out of Metro revenues.

The $7 million increase in MTA expenses:

  • Represents a 16.66 percent increase in the portion funded by Metro from $42 million in 2016-17 to $49 million in 2017-18
  • Is after offsets from a $1.3 million increase in Federal grants, a $939,900 decrease in pension costs, and $421,200 in revenues from increased advertising and parking
  • Represents a $6.72 or 5.95 percent increase in expenditures per capita to $119.65, up from $112.93 in the 2016-17 budget

The increase in non-user taxpayer subsidies comes at a time when MTA/RTA CEO Steve Bland has been making presentations regarding the expansion of public transportation throughout middle Tennessee as approved by the MTA Board of Directors in the $6 billion nMotion Plan.

Governor Haslam’s IMPROVE Act included provisions for 12 designated counties to levy a surcharge on six local taxes if they were already existing, including option sales tax, business tax, motor vehicle tax, local rental car tax, tourist accommodation/hotel occupancy tax and residential development tax, for the purposes of a transit improvement program.



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12 Thoughts to “After Nashville Mayor Megan Barry’s Fare Reductions, Just 16 Percent of The Metropolitan Transit Authority Funding Is Self-Generated”

  1. Susan E Gingrich

    Is she really a CA transplant or is that the mayor of Knoxville? Why would any Tennessean vote for someone with CA values and frame of reference?

  2. charles quinn

    She is the result of a failed public education system. Progressives are just another word for SOCIALISTS . Which is just a short step from COMMUNISM. This is taught to the children .And they end up to be useful idiots for any cause . Hitler stated “GIVE ME THE CHILDREN ” And see what he did. WAKE UP PEOPLE ! But I really fear that it is to late !

  3. Jay

    Maybe she can get her terrorist friends to help.

  4. Stephen

    Enough of wasting tax dollars on this. If it can’t even cover 1/2, stop wasting money on a urbanist expensive dream.

  5. Dan Meredith

    Soooo…. “mass transit” is something that citizens are clamoring for. But in order to get people to ride it, we have to PAY their WAY? Why do people go out and pay HUNDREDS of dollars each month for a car payment, plus insurance, gas, oil, upkeep. No one has to entice them. These liberal pipe dreams just keep on and on. Perhaps next we will start purchasing bicycles and PAYING people to use the ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY bike lanes!

  6. Bob

    This is how cities get run on the ground by Demonrats. i.e. Detroit, Chicago.

  7. Jay

    Nashvilleians tired of winning yet?

  8. Wolf Woman

    Progressives like Barry only know how to spend taxpayer’s money on their idealized schemes which always cost more than they anticipated. Then they have to raise our taxes to cover the costs of their schemes which usually don’t work out.

  9. lb

    You only have to look as far as Atlanta to see a “Regional Transportation System” that FAILED and will keep FAILING because the other Counties refused to pay for it. They didnt want it OR need it especially when it came right to their doors at ZERO expense to them. Cobb/Fayette/Gwinnett, etc just used county land at the border beside interstates and made free parking lots or charged $5 a day. Then they ran buses/shuttles to the trains at the border of their County and Atlanta to MARTA. Ran them multiple times in the mornings and late afternoons at a fraction of the multi MILLIONS Marta costs a year . Free “Regional” system for the County’s citizens while the Citizens of Fulton CO (ATL) PAY for it yearly–same thing is going to happen here. I will be hugely suprised if this thing is voted YES in a referendum. Might not impact me tho as we are looking for a new house to buy ANYWHERE but Davidson Co

    1. 83ragtop50

      It appears that those living in the counties surrounding Atlanta are a lot smarter than those running the Atlanta government. I hope the same holds true for the citizens of Tennessee. I really do not understand why we are even having this discussion.

  10. Bob

    Maybe take away the 7 office positions she created at $150k salary each would help fund it.

  11. 83ragtop50

    I cannot wait to see the cost of subsidizing the Magic Kingdom (or it Fantasy Land?) regional transit system Mayor Berry and her spend, spend, spend brethren are pushing. Wake up people. Mass transit does nothing to solve the traffic problems and its cost to operate and maintain increases forever.