On January 11, 2018, the coalition backing Mayor Megan Barry’s mass-transit referendum, Transit for Nashville, held a press conference, during which the claim was made that since last September over 30,000 Nashville residents have signed a petition pledging their support for the plan.
In addition to those who reside in Music City, many area businesses, which include some large corporations, have lined up on the Mayor’s side of the matter. The prevailing philosophy of this group is that as a city we can’t afford to wait anymore, and that we must be willing to do our part financially to see the project through.
Transit for Nashville will not only build new transportation services such as light rail and an underground tunnel downtown, but is slated to expand and improve the MTA bus system, add sidewalks to residential areas, and connect neighborhoods in a greater way.
There is another camp that stands in opposition to the referendum, however, and it is called NoTax4Tracks. This group emerged quite recently, with the backing of Lee Beaman, the car dealer and AMP opponent, and former mayoral candidate David Fox. They maintain that the Mayor’s proposal will raise Nashville’s taxes to the highest levels in the nation. NoTax4Tracks also cites urban planning and traffic study experts who say the costly proposal will actually not solve Music City’s traffic woes.
Some of the tax increases that would be earmarked for the transit proposal would be sales taxes, which would affect lower income families and seniors the most, car rental and business taxes, and hotel room taxes, which opponents say would affect the appeal of Nashville as a convention destination.
Here are some of the players:
Pro – Transit for Nashville:
HCA Healthcare, Ingram Industries, The Nashville Predators, The Hispanic Marketing Group (specialized marketing for the Nashville Hispanic population), McNeely, Pigott, and Fox Public Relations, and MEPR Agency (specializing in African-American outreach), among others.
Opposed – NoTax4Tracks:
Melissa Smithson, Chair of the Nashville-Davidson County Republican Party, The Campaign Group (handling group campaign finances), Impact Politics, The Jeff Eller Group (Jeff Eller is a former WKRN TV News 2 journalist), among others.
In the meantime, it will be a hot topic of conversation, and opinions will be flying! Middle Tennessee Hotel Association is a leader on the behalf of hotel and motel owners and operators in the United States, representing them as they continue to be crucial in the growth of the Middle Tennessee economy. We want to know where you stand, share your comments with us below. Nashvillians will be able to cast their votes in late spring, if the Metro Council votes to place it on the May 2018 ballot.