Nashville feared becoming the next Atlanta, in terms of traffic. To avoid that fate, the Nashville Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) launched a Transit Strategic Plan. The need was dire—the region is expected to gain 1 million people over the next 25 years. “Nashville is a rapidly growing city with a transit system designed for a small city,” says Geoff Slater.
Slater led the development of the plan, which was branded nMotion. The team conducted extensive outreach for 15 months to gather feedback, which culminated in a draft plan envisioning a $6 billion expansion of transit in Middle Tennessee. The cornerstone of that vision is a core network of light rail, bus rapid transit and rapid bus services.
The Regional Transit Authority board in September 2016 unanimously approved the 25-year plan to improve traffic in Middle Tennessee. “It will completely transform Nashville,” says Slater. “It’s going to be a great transit system for a great city.”
In April 2017, the mayor announced the first light rail line to be built on one of the corridors recommended in the plan. In October 2017, the mayor unveiled a “Let’s Go Nashville” program that includes a combination of 26 miles of light rail, expanded bus service and a massive tunnel below downtown that will be a central connecting point. The $5.2 billion-dollar plan would be funded through increases in the local sales tax, hotel tax, rental car tax, and the city’s business and excise tax.
Read the story in the Tennessean: “Middle Tennessee leaders adopt $6B regional transit plan”
Listen to the NPR story about implementation of light rail: Nashville Mayor calls for big spending to get started on light rail”