Nashville residents weigh true cost of multi-billion dollar transit plan

 

If you drive Nashville interstates, Mayor Megan Barry's $5.4 billion transit bill has likely been high on your radar.

After four months and dozens of presentations, meetings, and public forums later, it's the eve of the big vote to see if Mayor Barry's transit plan will be on the ballot May 1.

However, by our count, the multi-billion dollar transit plan is far from a shoe-in.

News 4 reached out to all 40 members of Metro Council to see how they plan to vote Tuesday evening.

Of the 17 councilmembers who responded, eight said they will vote "yes," and three said it's a "no" for them.

At least seven council members still don't know if they will vote yes or no to adding a referendum vote in the spring, allowing Nashvillians to decide if they want to opt-in to Barry's project.

"Before I punch that button, I hear from my constituents and people I was elected by to be here to make the best possible decision," said District 2 Councilwoman DeCosta Hastings.

The mayor hasn't been able to go public with any last-minute transit plan pushes.

Instead, she's spent the last several days answering questions about her affair.

News4's Liz Louis asked Hasting if she thought Mayor Barry's affair scandal will affect the Council's vote.

"I can't necessarily say that [and] wouldn't say that because the vote is about the people," Hastings said. "The Mayor Barry issue is something Mayor Barry will have to deal with and the people around her."

Councilman-at-large John Cooper is also undecided.

"I am certainly not going to vote for something that I think is not accurate and honestly describing the financial ramifications of this plan," Cooper explained.

He's hoping his proposed amendment, which he says rewords the transit bill to reflect the money that's really being spent, will pass.

As mention, the proposal estimates the price tag at $5.3 billion, but Cooper says it looks more like $9 billion with an additional $130 million per year to operate.

"if you're for transit or against transit it doesn't matter," Cooper said. "Everyone is for transparency."

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