While a number of Nashville entrepreneurs support Mayor Megan Barry’s $5.2 billion mass transit plan, some are saying the proposal is outdated for the needs of today.
The Nashville chapter of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization has surveyed members on the proposal for Davidson County, reports Nashville Business Journal. Forty-four of the chapter’s more than 200 members responded.
Eighteen percent said they are “strongly against” the mass transit plan, 6 percent are “somewhat against” it and 3 percent “neither support nor oppose” the proposal. Forty-five percent “strongly support” the plan and 28 percent “somewhat support” it. However, even some in favor of the plan expressed reservations in comments.
Those opposed said new technology is consigning light rail to a thing of the past and that Nashville should be part of the latest innovation in transportation.
Other critics have voiced similar concerns, saying people today want customized door-to-door transportation offered by services such as Uber and Lyft. They say city officials need to take a closer look at those services, and at how self-driving cars could have an impact in the future, as well as how technology will soon allow even more people to work from home. Some also want the city to consider setting up express lanes with dynamic electronic toll pricing that accounts for changes in traffic patterns. Other concerns about the mass transit plan involve costs – the initial expenses as well as upkeep costs.
Mayor Barry, a progressive Democrat, unveiled her detailed plan two weeks ago. The project would include light rail, electric buses and an underground tunnel downtown, as well as improvements to existing transportation. It would be funded with a combination of federal grants, bonds, fare revenues and tax surcharges. A half percent sales tax surcharge would start in July 2018, increasing to 1 percent in 2023. There also would be surcharges on the hotel/motel tax, local rental car tax, and business and excise tax. Barry is asking Metro Council to approve a referendum for the ballot in May to put the tax hikes before voters.