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Letter to Nashville Mayor, David Briley

David Briley, Mayor

Metropolitan Nashville, Davidson County

Mayor Briley

In the immediate aftermath of the referendum countywide vote against the proposed tax hikes and construction of light rail plus an underground tunnel, we have heard many voices. In the State of Metro address, you announced that you would work toward “finding a consensus on the issue” and that this would require “some sacrifice and some collaboration among people who don’t always agree.”

The undersigned supporters of NashvilleSmart, Inc. observe that ambiguous statements are insufficient to make any progress. More planning sessions, transit schools, and other one-sided attempts to build consensus look like more of the same. Despite the statements made about our stand against the transit plan, NashvilleSmart, Inc. is not opposed to transit. Mayors Dean, Barry and, now, you, bent to developers, large land owners, and their lawyers, distorting plans away from actually moving people from where they live to where they work, worship, see medical specialists or shop. As a result, only a handful of Nashvillians would see a benefit while hundreds of thousands of others would pay for it, detour around it and lose businesses during lengthy and complicated construction.

At this point City Hall and the MTA have lost the public trust. To regain confidence, NashvilleSmart, Inc. requests of your office:

  1. The MTA should immediately initiate recording and publishing data for each bus route and for the Music City Star. That data should include rides per month, hours of service per month, miles of service per month, fare revenue per month and operating cost per month. This data will inform wide discussion about where and how to invest in greater capacity.

  2. Metro should immediately implement technologies that you, and others on your behalf, acknowledged were available within current budgets to improve the flow of traffic on arteries.

  3. Metro should take measures to improve the flow of transit riders and traffic to and from major events.

  4. The Metro government should pursue support for major automobile companies who plan to introduce fleets of self-driving cars offering on-demand services: Waymo, General Motors, Mercedes and Nissan/Renault are examples.

  5. Metro should urge the State of Tennessee to enforce the HOV lanes on the Interstates and advancing the HOV lanes into express lanes that keep traffic flowing at all time for cars, vans, and buses.

The Chamber’s CEO, Ralph Shultz maintained that a failure of the transit plan at the polls on May 1 would be “the death of growth.” This is insufficient for a city with the potential that Nashville has. Please do not allow that sentiment, accompanied by the failure of Metro to do what can be done now, to become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Lonnie Spivak, President

NashvilleSmart, Inc.

Cc: Members of the Metro Council

Steve Bland, Executive Director, MTA