Nashville Proposes $3.1B Plan to Expand Bus System

The plan will hinge on voter approval of a half-cent sales tax increase on the November ballot.

2 minute read

April 22, 2024, 9:00 AM PDT

By Mary Hammon @marykhammon

Purple buss pulls up to bus stop in green bus lane.

Matt Huesmann / We Go Public Transit

Nashville Mayor Freddie O’Connell announced a $3.1 billion dollar plan to expand transit in the city. The proposed initiative, called “Choose How You Move,” would be paid for with a half-cent sales tax increase that will appear on the ballot in November, reports Cassandra Stephenson for the Nashville Tennessean.

The majority of the proposed improvements (nearly 60 percent) would come in the form of expanded and enhanced bus service. According to Stephenson, the local WeGo bus service would nearly double under the plan, including the creation of four new express bus routes, as well as updated routes and increased frequency throughout the city. The rest of the plan will add sidewalks, upgrade and add traffic signals, and build new transit centers, as well as create a microtransit pilot and purchase 26 acres of land adjacent to transit center locations to use for things like housing and parks.

The proposed plan comes almost six years after Nashville voters firmly rejected a referendum for a $5.4 billion transit plan and a rebranding of Nashville MTA as WeGo. If voters approve the ballot measure in November, the plan will cost the average Nashville family about $70 more per year in sales tax and take 15 years to complete. The tax increase will cover around 40 percent of the plan’s total cost, writes Stephenson, with the remainder coming from fares, bonds, and state and federal programs. Mayor O’Connell said at a press conference that having a dedicated source of transit funding will make Nashville more competitive for federal grants.

Friday, April 19, 2024 in Tennessean

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