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Protesters call Nashville's $6 billion transit plan the 'gentrification train'

(WZTV)

The People's Alliance for Transit, Housing and Employment marched from east Nashville to the mayor's office on Tuesday, calling the $6 billion nMotion transit plan the 'gentrification train.'

The plan was developed by the Metro and regional transit authorities and calls for a light rail system, which could run along Gallatin Pike.

The protesters marched along the proposed path from Inglewood in East Nashville to the Metro Courthouse.

The group said the light rail will bring in high-income families who work downtown, raising property values that will push low-income families out

"If they're going to take tax dollars to build something, they should be building 31,000 homes for low-income based people," Angelique Johnson said.

Transit and housing aren't mutually exclusive, according to Nashville Mayor Megan Barry. The mayor's office and the Metro Council committed $35 million to build and maintain affordable housing.

Another complaint from the protesters is that building the light rail will take negatively impact the existing bus system. Tamika Jones of the bus drivers union said that would unfairly affect low-income families that depend on the bus.

"We don't want our bus routes cut," Jones said. "We actually want to have more, expand the routes and possibly do 24-hour service."

The nMotion transit plan also sets aside funds that pave the way for more bus routes, longer hours, and more cross-town connections, according to a spokesperson for the mayor.

Mayor Barry's office said promoting equity and affordability are top priorities for Barry, and the MTA and RTA developed the transit plan with input from 20,000 residents.

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