A new grassroots citizens group called ‘Better Transit for Nashville’ has burst onto the political scene to oppose the Metro City Council’s $9 billion transit plan. Formed less than a month ago in mid-February, the plucky group has earned over two thousand Facebook page ‘likes’ and reached an impressive 108 thousand people, according to a statement:
Better Transit FB Page Reaches 108,000 & 2,200 Followers in Just Three Weeks
NASHVILLE, 3/8/18 – The grassroots group Better Transit for Nashville’s momentum continues. BTN’s message is simple: we need a regional plan without light rail, a strong bus system, with BRT where needed, and tech. BTN’s FB page has 2,200 followers in just three weeks.
BTN’s ongoing request to the pro side to commit to riding the light rail (LRT) has yielded only two (2) people who say they will ride it. They would not submit their first names. BTN has published the open request on social media, the BTN website, in emails, comments on the pro transit FB page, and to the 60 businesses who have funded the $2.5 million pro PAC. LRT/tunnel is 70% of the $9B cost.
BTN has published the most detailed analysis available of projected ridership of the 32 miles of LRT lines. Click here to view it. In 2070, if the LRT still exists, transit ridership will increase from today’s current 2% to at best 2.6%.
Estimates of the $9B plan’s cost per rider in 2035 will be at least $193,000; in 2070, $228,000. All data is based on the 14 U.S. cities’ with LRT & their current ridership, with generous projections. The more accurate projections of cost are much higher. Moreover, transit experts say that in 50 years, transit will not exist as we know it today. Light rail is already obsolete before it is even built. Even worse, LRT in this plan would eliminate three lanes on our five primary city roadways, restricting traffic flow for the 98%.
Transit experts agree that LRT simply will not work in Nashville. Why not? Nashville is 504 sq miles, 5th largest land area in the U.S., with spread out population. Only 6.5% of jobs are in downtown where the LRT is concentrated. The 32 miles of lines cover only 6% of the land area. There is very little incentive to ride LRT, therefore few people do.
The group’s About page tells their story:
We are all local, and all volunteers. We pay for this page and all that we do out of our own money. Our goal is to inform Nashvillians about how wrong the transit plan is for our city, for everyone, especially the 98% of people including transit riders. Light rail only benefits the rich- they are the ones funding the pro side’s campaign; they will make $millions from the build out, as they will finance, build and design the $9 billion plan; they benefit when their land value goes up from the artificial increase of the land near light rail lines; Megan Barry gets her legacy. What we have learned sickens us, and we want to pass this info along to Nashvillians, with the hope that we who are wise will vote this transit plan down. We built our website, bettertransit4nashville.com, ourselves, on wordpress using Divi theme. (It’s actually not that difficult!) Pro-NTIP people are attacking us, demonizing us, accusing us of getting Koch funding. We do not get any funding (we wish we did!). We want the best for Nashville and all people here, especially those who need public transit and housing – and this plan greatly hurts those people. Light rail is for, by and benefits the rich, the powerful, the politicians. It’s ironic that they accuse of having ulterior motives, when the pro campaign is being run by paid PR firms. The pro side’s PAC will raise $2.5 million and pay an army of PR people to spin the story that light rail will be great for Nashville (PR firms include Calvert Street & MPFox). It’s actually very sad – even tragic. We are a group of people from different sectors, with one goal: educate people about the NTIP plan & why it is wrong for Nashville; why it will greatly hurt Nashville in many ways. Who benefits from light rail? The rich, billionaires, a few politicians and the rail industry. They will make $millions, and a few politicians get their legacy. It’s so ironic that a good bus system increases public transit more than light rail. Light rail will eliminate three vital lanes on our primary roadways. The land around light rail is artificially increased in value; the rich landowners reap big profits; the poor cannot afford the housing and are forced to leave. Please visit our site and read “74 Reasons to Vote No” or “Quick Read: Four Reasons.” Thank you for following our page!
After reviewing their Facebook page and website, there does not seem to be a way to donate to the group’s efforts.However, they do encourage visitors to also join, follow and support fellow anti-Transit Plan group, NoTax4Tracks.