Mayor's affair raises questions about pending transit plan - WSMV News 4

Mayor's affair raises questions about pending transit plan

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Transportation and Sustainability Director Erin Hafkenschiel speaks in place of Mayor Barry at a transit plan event. (WSMV) Transportation and Sustainability Director Erin Hafkenschiel speaks in place of Mayor Barry at a transit plan event. (WSMV)
NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

Metro Nashville City Council is days away from voting on whether to add Mayor Megan Barry’s proposed transit plan to a May referendum. 

The mayor’s office is working to keep the focus on transit following her admission Wednesday to an affair with her former chief of security Sgt. Rob Forrest.

On Friday, Mayor Barry was originally supposed to speak to members of the Rotary Club of Brentwood about the transit plan, but the mayor’s transportation and sustainability director Erin Hafkenschiel spoke in her place.

News4’s Briona Arradondo asked how it distracts from getting the big ticket items for transit passed. 

“You know, I think that this has not just been Mayor Barry’s plan. It’s been something that the region and the city has been working on for a number of years,” said Hafkenschiel. “We think it’s important for the city to address this issue now and that we can’t wait.”

The multi-billion dollar plan is up for its final vote in Metro Council Tuesday. If it’s approved, it will be on a May referendum for voters.

The mayor’s transportation director said no plans have changed or dates were moved since Mayor Barry’s affair admission.

“We’re growing really fast, our congestion is getting worse and we think it’s something that the whole community wants to address now. And we think our council members agree with us,” said Hafkenschiel.

News4 wanted to know whether the fallout from the affair would hinder the mayor’s plans and reached out to groups for and against the transit plan.

A spokesperson with Transit for Nashville said, “The transit plan reflects the input of thousands of Nashvillians and the growing want and need of a solution to our ongoing traffic problem. These problems are not going away and the priorities to solve the city’s traffic problem stay the same. This is Nashville's Plan and we continue to move forward.”

While the critical group NoTax4Tracks said in an email the group “is focused on the policy side of the transit plan. It would not be appropriate for us to comment on the Mayor’s personal issues.”

Some Metro council members are calling for an audit following the affair.

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