Nashvillians debate $8.9 billion transit plan hours before vote

(Fox 17 News)

Bumper to bumper traffic is an everyday reality for Nashville area drivers and not just found during rush hour.

On May 1, Davidson County polls will open for Nashville voters to make a decision either for or against the $8.9 billion transit plan.

Nearly 60,000 people have already voted, totalling early voter turnout at 15 percent of registered Davidson County voters.

There’s no doubt people in Nashville are fired up on both sides of the transit plan, which would add 30 miles of light rail, a two-mile underground tunnel downtown and expanded bus services. The plan’s cost requires an increase in the sales tax along with higher hotel-motel, rental car, Metro business and excise taxes.

With a lot of emotions surrounding this plan, Fox 17 News talked to Nashville neighbors on both sides. First, people explained why they’re against the transit plan.

“This tax will never go away,” Gary Baker said. “It won't solve the problems that we have in Metropolitan Nashville.”

“I just think there needs to be work done on the roads if anything,” Zac Rossi said. “Focus on the exterior rather than the interior just because of how big everything's getting.”

“In my opinion, the light rail system does not move enough people to make any meaningful impact on our transit, and the costs of it are extremely exorbitant," Jay Levin said.

People, who said they’re voting for the transit plan, said this is what Nashville needs to fix major traffic problems.

“I take the train to and from work now as it is, and they're going to be doing improvements on that,” Hermitage resident Jana West said. “I think it's worth the investment. It's going to be paid for almost half by the tourists anyway.”

“I think added bus service is a great thing to be doing,” Alessandra Young said. “I think the light rail is a really cool option and something different for the city that will just benefit it.”

“From what I can gather, if you plan on being in Nashville for a while, it's going to be a good pro for the city just based on how quickly we're growing," Annaliece Mattingly said.

Davidson County primary and transit referendum election polls are open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday May 1.

CLICK HERE to find your polling place. CLICK HERE to read the sample ballot.

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