Metro Council torn on next steps with Mayor Barry’s $5.4B transit plan after affair

(Fox 17 News)

Nashville Mayor Megan Barry’s transit plan has been a top priority to relieve traffic congestion and attract big business, but some are not sure it will pass next week's vote in Metro Council.

The mayor's $5.4 billion transit plan is set to face its third and final vote in Metro Council to decide whether or not it will be on the spring ballot. On Wednesday, Mayor Barry admitted to an extramarital affair with her former head of security detail. This prompted a public outcry and an investigation about a possible misuse of tax payer dollars during the affair.

“What I would say is at times like this, sometimes it’s good to take a deep breath and take a step back, and just kind of, get everybody together, everybody back on the same page,” said Jim Shulman, Metro Councilman At Large.

Barry proposed the multi-billion-dollar transit plan back in October as a solution for Nashville's 'growing gridlock.' Key components of the plan include the city's first light rail system, rapid bus transit and increasing the frequency of the existing MTA bus network. Read a full breakdown of the plan here.

Shulman said he doesn't know how the rest of council will vote on Tuesday night or not.

“If we hold it back on Tuesday, we can always put it on the August ballot or the November ballot," Shulman said. "It just might be a good time for everyone to step back, kind of re-look at everything right now."

Councilmember Jeremy Elrod disagrees. Elrod sponsored the ordinance that would put the transit referendum on the may ballot, he says now is the time to act regardless of other headlines.

”Anybody that wants to move to Nashville is going to want to be able to get around the city and be able to have a choice to drive, bike, bus, light rail,” Elrod said.

A number of corporations throughout the country, including Amazon, all agree that Nashville should already have or be planning to construct a new transportation network.

“Any company, particularly large ones, want to have or move to cities that have robust transit system be attractive for employees all across the country who may be used to a transit system,” Elrod said.

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