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Transportation

Can Nashville Pull Off a $5.2 Billion Transit Makeover?

In an era of state preemption of local authority, Nashville is pushing ahead with a major transit initiative built on new local taxes.
Nashville Mayor Megan Barry unveiled a sweeping $5.2 billion transit overhaul for the city, called "Let's Move Nashville," in October.
Nashville Mayor Megan Barry unveiled a sweeping $5.2 billion transit overhaul for the city, called "Let's Move Nashville," in October.Mark Humphrey/AP

Nashville Mayor Megan Barry announced a massive transit overhaul for the city earlier this month—one of the boldest municipal projects in recent memory, and easily the biggest in Nashville history. The $5.2 billion plan would introduce 26 miles of inlight rail across four new lines, four rapid bus lines, expanded bus service for existing routes, a major downtown tunneling project, and some two dozen transit centers across the city.

Let’s Move Nashville”goes up for a referendum vote in May 2018. Over the next 7 months, residents of the consolidated Nashville–Davidson County area will debate a goliath project that calls for increases to four taxes in order to pay for a metro transit dig that will run through 2032.