Top 5 Reasons the Plan is Wrong for Nash & Will Not Work; Top 5 Reasons to Vote Against:
1.The plan is not regional & does not address the main traffic issue: the masses of people traveling in & out of Nashville daily. The plan is only city. Any mass transit plan has to be regional.
2. Light rail does not increase transit ridership or reduce traffic congestion. Transit ridership is 2% today. At best case projections, with light rail (LRT), the rate may go to 2.5% but likely will decrease. Click here to see the projections of ridership based on a detailed analysis of the 14 light rail systems in the U.S. A strong bus system, tech & other strategies are more effective than light rail to deal with traffic congestion, esp. in Nashville, w/ 525 sq miles & low population density. Moreover: tech is transforming how we commute; &, transit ridership is DECLINING at 3.5% annually due to many reasons. Light rail – obsolete now – will be completely, totally obsolete in 14 years, the build out period. Click here to learn why light rail is not effective and fails to attract riders.
3. The catastrophic cost: $9 billion: $568,000 per current rider. The light rail portion is $6+ billion, for an obsolete, inflexible transit dinosaur & tunnel that ruins the bus system, eliminates half the lanes on five (5) primary state/city roadways 7 bankrupts our city. Four new taxes are added, including sales tax increase, causing Nashville to have the highest sales tax in the nation. Cost per rider: $8.9B / 15,650 current riders = $568,000 per rider. Source: apta.com.
4. The plan does not include anything related to technology, the driving force in traffic for the future. The plan was created by Megan Barry, the MTA bus agency & a small of group of small-town mayors WHO DO NOT LIVE IN DAVIDSON CO. Yes, that’s true; they created the plan; that info is on the pro website.
5. The plan hurts the working class, poor & minorities the most. The plan helps the 1% & hurts the 99%. We stand with integrated, inner city groups who oppose the plan, and with leaders such as Bill Freeman, Rev. Enoch Fuzz, Dr. Gwen Brown-Felder & Mario Ramos who are against the plan. We are for a regional plan, including, and paid for by, all 10 counties; a strong bus system, BRT, widening roads, technology & all effective solutions & strategies for improving transit and reducing traffic.
Ten (10) ways the rich get richer through the $9B plan:
1.) They make $millions from the $9B build out. 2.) The rail industry will make $millions from the build out. 3.) Ongoing profits from the $300+M operations, maintenance. 4.) Goldman Sachs & banks will make $50-100M from the bonds & financing, 5.) Their corp./businesses will increase in value due to artificial govt. economic boost to “transit.” 6.) Their land values near LRT/BRT will increase artificially. 7.) They will continue to get business from Metro’s $2+ billion annual budgets. 7.) They will continue to get tax breaks, tax incentives & sweetheart deals from Metro. 8.) Developers will continue to get favoritism & codes changes that allow them to make more money; such as less parking requirements because “transit” is on the roadway. 9.) Metro will get more tax revenue from high density buildings. 10.) Metro will have much lower infrastructure costs for utilities, water, sewer, roadways, etc. Metro’s benefits mean bureaucrats and staff have job security & pensions for life. Average salary of mayor’s office staff is $90,000 a year (source: data.nashville.gov).
A Challenge: to the FOR side. Please produce data & studies that show, through proven results, that light rail reduces traffic congestion & increases public transit ridership. We, the grassroots movement against NTIP, ask you to send the information to us at email@example.com. We have data, from numerous sources, including 30+ years of data from light rail systems in the U.S., showing the opposite: that light rail does not reduce traffic congestion & does not increase public transit ridership; click here to read the studies, in the “Case Studies: Light Rail Failures” section. Even worse, light rail causes numerous other severe, disastrous and long term catastrophic problems to both the roadways, a city’s economy, and the people. We are waiting for your response. We have asked numerous people to give us such information. We have not received a response from anyone.
A Challenge: to those who are FOR light rail. Since you are for the plan, it is only fair that you commit to use it. The plan has $6B for light rail, or 70%. We respectfully ask for you to promise and commit to riding the light rail for 80% of your driving days. Update: So far, only two people have committed. Please send us your name & a written commitment that you will give up using your car and ride the rail system instead. Please send to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. The two people are named Ed and Connie, though Connie would not email us (she left a FB comment).
Urgent message to Nashville voters: 70% of the $9B is for light rail. We are ONLY against light rail/tunnel; we are FOR bus service/BRT/express bus lanes/technology & much more! Please visit the Light Rail Fails section of this site to read how light rail has NEVER worked in any city it has been installed, at great harm to virtually everyone in the city.
How so? Click here to read the stories of the five cities that installed it 40 years ago. We now have decades of data that reveal light rail has not reduced their traffic; and that their public transit ridership is the same as cities who do not have light rail! Light rail does not reduce traffic congestion or solve traffic issues – and in the NTIP plan, it will even make traffic worse by eliminating three (lanes) on current four/five lane roadways. Light rail does NOT increase public transit ridership – light rail, bus, etc. In fact, light rail has numerous severe negative consequences. Click here to learn why light rail doesn’t work.
Why are the elite in Nashville FOR it? Because the few politicians & big businesses – the 1% – benefit greatly from it. Corporate big business will make $$millions off of it. Goldman Sachs is pushing hard for it as they will issue the bonds and make $50-100 million. Politicians secure their legacy (Lord, help us!). Media will get a boost because Nashville “secures it’s place as international city,” (Tennessean’s words). So, please tell us, how does spending $9+B on a transit project that 98% of people will NEVER use – and which hurts everybody including the 2% of commuters who do use the bus system – secure our place as a city? Light rail may look “flashy,” but it never works.
Why are so many citizens for it? They are voting on emotion, on the pro side’s “feel good” message that “We have to have mass transit; we have to do something now.” Yet, no one from the pro side has been able to show us that light rail actually works. Please send us data, facts, and case studies that show that light rail works. Light rail is COMPLETELY different from the rapid transit & heavy rail in mega-cities. And Nashville is completely different from those cities also. If passed & built, light rail in Nashville will be the nation’s biggest epic fail EVER. Cities four, five times bigger than Nashville got light rail – Houston, Dallas, San Jose w/ 9 million people, etc – and it is a failure there. The pro side says, “We have to plan ahead…” Yes, tech is the now & future. In 50 years, tech will make light rail obsolete. Plan ahead with a failing, useless rail system that does not increase transit ridership, that ruins our primary roadways, that bankrupts our city? Why can’t Metro learn from other cities’ mistakes? We need a strong bus system, BRT, tech & more – not light rail and a ridiculous tunnel. Moreover, Nashville’s low population density & 525 sq mile area – 5th in the nation – is even more of a reason very few will ever ride light rail here.
Other cities have had similar referendums, and they usually pass (60%-40%, or closer 55%-45%) because a slim majority believe the deceptive message of the politicians & big businesses who will benefit. Light rail hurts the 99% – especially the poor, the working class, the middle class, the bus commuters, it hurts the 98%, the 99%. Public transit is always a challenge; but bus services & technology are the BEST (though MTA needs better management, etc.) because bus is flexible, incredibly more cost-effective than light rail (which has longer commute times than good bus service), and, most of all, technology is radically transforming our commuting & living. A transit analyst says that “transit as we know it will be obsolete in 15 years.” In reality, Light rail was obsolete long ago, even more so in 10, 20 years!
Please read below, “The Top 100 Reasons to Vote Against.” So far, no one from the pro side has refuted these points. The challenge remains: show us data that light rail works. No one from mayors office, no one from the pro side, no one has shown us any data or proof. Many on the pro side attack us (on our FB page) accusing us of getting funding from some biased source; we are all volunteers and using our own money for this site & the FB page.
Many people in Nash will NOT speak out. They work for the state, Metro, some business/corporate entity that is for the plan, a non-profit, a bank, in real estate or whatever, and, though they personally are against it and know it is wrong for Nashville & know it is in reality a very, very terrible govt transit plan, they cannot speak out, so the opposition’s message remains quiet. How did it get this far? A majority of Metro Council members love Megan Barry and support her no matter what. So, they passed it to be put up for referendum; though the plan itself is actually a guaranteed failure and fiasco, a light rail epic fail, a very foolish, ill-conceived plan (understatement) created by the MTA bus agency & a group of small-town mayors from outside of Davidson Co. That info is on the letsmovenashville.com website. If we have a transit plan, it has to regional. Private enterprise could create and fulfill a plan that is 10 times, 20 times better than this plan for a fraction of the cost.
Below! Read “Top 100 Reasons to Vote AGAINST” – 100 Reasons the Plan is Wrong for Nashville & Will Not Work.
Join the movement to defeat the NTIP transit referendum! Learn here all about why the plan is wrong for Nashville. Follow us on Facebook for daily insight, news & how you can be involved. We want you to join us! We are FOR bus/BRT/express lanes, technology & more; we are AGAINST light rail (obsolete before it’s built; does not reduce traffic) & the ridiculous tunnel.
The Most Important Vote in Nashville History – If passed, Nashville will spend $9+ billion and 15-20 years creating a light rail system that is obsolete before it is even built, that 97% of commuters will never use, and that will severely restrict & alter the ability of those very roadways to move traffic of the 97%. Who benefits? A few politicians, Metro agencies who get job security and big business corporate Nashville who will profit from the massive expense. Vote NO April 11-26 and May 1.
If vote was today, the FOR side would win, 57% to 43%; 6,300 is the number of votes that could swing the election.
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NTIP Light Rail & Tunnel Transit:
Top 100 Reasons the Plan is Wrong for Nash
Top 100 Reasons to Vote AGAINST, NO
Top 100 Reasons We Need a Better Plan
Light rail is 15 mph max- school zone speed.
Top 100 Reasons to Vote Against; Why the Plan is Wrong for Nashville; Why the Plan Will Not Work
1. The plan is not regional.
2. Light rail is an obsolete transit model. It is 70% of the costs, $6B of $9B.
3. Light rail ridership is 1% or less of commuters. Bus systems are more effective at increasing transit ridership.
4. In the cities that have it, light rail has failed in increasing transit ridership or reducing traffic, even after decades & 35+ years of use, in cities with populations & pop. densities Nash will not reach for 75 years.
5. At best, in 50 years, with light rail, Nash’s public transit ridership might go from 2% to 2.5%, but likely will decrease.
6. A long term plan? In 50 years, light rail will be completely obsolete. It’s obsolete now.
7. The high cost: $568,000 per current Nash transit rider. $8.9B / 15,650 = $568,000 per rider.
8. The $9 billion cost, taxes & bonds could bankrupt Nashville, which already has financial problems.
9. The four new taxes & bonds paid on until 2060 threaten our city, economy, programs, schools, services & more for generations. Highest sales tax in nation.
10. Light rail & BRT on nine (9) roadways will eliminate two & three lanes on already high traffic streets.
11. The plan includes nothing related to tech which is changing how we commute, travel & live & disrupting transportation.
12. The plan includes nothing related to the sharing & gig economy which changing how cities & transit function & is disrupting transit.
13. Light rail/tunnel is 70% of the costs. Light rail is a central reason why the plan will not work.
14. Corporate Nash & the rich have given $2.5 million to the pro side PAC, as they will get richer through the plan. See ten (10) ways below.
15. The build out will take 14 years. Experts believe that transit as we know it will not exist in 15 years, due to many factors: tech, the internet, the sharing economy, delivery services, telecommuting & more. See the ways below.
16. Nash’s 504 sq. miles is 5th in the nation. The large land area renders fixed light rail useless. We need bus. Nash’s low population density of 1,300 people per sq. miles renders light rail useless.
17. 94% or more of Nashvillians will not live close enough to the light rail to use it. The LRT covers only 6% of the land area, 31 miles of 504 miles.
18. Only 6.5% of Nash jobs are downtown, where light rail is focused.
19. MTA has 56 bus routes. The nine (9) LRT & BRT lines are on 16% of the routes and have no impact on 84% of the routes. A foolish, dangerous waste of $9 billion.
20. The plan was created by Megan Barry, MTA’s five people & small-town mayors who live outside of Davidson
21. Public transit ridership is declining at 3.5% annually locally & nationally, due to many disruptive factors.
22. Therefore, transit systems are struggling. MTA will lose $2.25 billion during the 15-year build out. Answer? Tech, better management, a regional plan.
23. Light rail is so expensive it cannibalizes a city’s bus system. All $$ goes to light rail, as bus & other depts. suffer.
24. The Metro machine – Metro, their clients, Chamber, CVB & more – wants light rail, as it leads to dense development, which means higher tax revenues & lower infrastructure costs. Taller bldgs. = more square feet, more tax revenue, less costs for utilities, roads, water, sewer, electric lines etc. They all get rich and benefit, we don’t.
25. Developers want density: taller buildings mean more profits, lower costs; “transit” means less codes requirements for such things as parking garages.
26. A $9 billion, 14-year govt. project means Metro politicians & employees get job security for life.
27. Metro’s last traffic idea? Eliminate two lanes of 8th Ave in Melrose, a primary roadway. The neighborhood revolted, with 6,500 people signing the petition to stop Metro’s ridiculous idea.
28. Yet, many community groups & people won’t speak out against the plan, as they may experience backlash from the Metro machine & employer.
29. The plan hurts the 99% who are not rich & especially those who truly need transit, affordable housing & jobs. Light rail causes real estate prices & rents to increase, pushing out those cannot afford the prices, called gentrification.
30. We stand with integrated inner-city groups & churches & with Democratic Leaders like Bill Freeman, Rev. Enoch Fuzz, Dr. Gwen Brown-Felder & Mario Ramos against the plan. They realize it only helps the 1% & not the 99%.
31. Pro side will not engage with or discuss the plan with the against side. Pro side does a “feel good” campaign & wins over the public without even mentioning the practical aspects of the nine (9) light rail & bus rapid transit lines.
32. The plan does not in any way analyze the effect of the transit program on the capacity of the altered streets to move traffic.
33. Gallatin light rail line is $789 million. Yet, Ellington Parkway next to it is a better, faster route from northeast to Nashville. There will be no incentive to take the slower light rail line.
34. The plan is 10 times bigger than any other Metro project in city history & is the biggest city govt project in state history.
35. The plan adds four (4) new taxes to an already overtaxed population: sales tax increase; small business tax; another hotel tax; rental car tax.
36. The 10.25% sales tax will be the highest in the nation.
37. Metro is experiencing financial problems: $243 million in debt under Barry; dwindling reserves; increased debt payment obligations; restricted dept. budgets, lower tax revenues.
38. The $9B plan will crowd out money & funding for departments, programs & people that truly need it.
39. The plan hurts the poor the most, first by higher taxes.
40. The plan eliminates critical affordable housing, as light rail artificially causes all land & rents to increase.
41. Few who pay the extra 1% sales tax get the benefits. The sales tax increase provides 95% of the funding to pay off the massive, dangerous bonds the city will get in 2023 and pay off, hopefully, in 2060, 37 years later.
42. Light rail is a major, catastrophic burden for the city’s taxpayers. LRT on average self-funds only 10-20% of their operating budgets, leaving the taxpayers to pay 80% or more. The average annual operating losses for three cities with light rail systems: $627 million; Denver, Dallas & Houston.
43. The plan is ambiguous about what the funding in the first few years pays for; the assumption is it pays for bus operations.
44. In 2023, the tax rates go to the highest levels. For several years, the added funds pay only interests on the bonds that will be used to build the railroads.
45. By 2031, Nashville taxpayers will be paying $166 million just on debt service.
46. The funding plan assumes Nashville will be getting a $143 million annual federal grant, something that is not a guarantee.
47. Around 2040, the expected flow of tax revenues will shift to a level payment of principle & interest lasting until 2060. The plan calls this “sculpting the debt profile over time to maximize what can be spent to build out the railroads within the one-cent sales tax flow of revenue.” This scheme frightens people who understand municipal finance.
48. A national recession could put our city in a compromised economic position.
49. Chamber claims “47% of sales tax is paid by people not living in David. Co.” The truth? Sales tax is not in any way tracked by zip code. It is impossible to determine the percentage paid by anyone. It is a phony statistic designed to deceive the public.
50. Sales tax is growing slower than other taxes. Why? The economy is moving toward tech/services & away from goods, which have sales tax. Over time, sales tax will not collect enough $$ for the project, further straining Metro’s budget & adding more taxes.
51. Sales tax increases actually lower overall sales tax collections, as consumers buy less & buy goods in other counties.
52. Higher sales tax will hurt businesses, especially those located near county lines, next to counties with lower sales tax rates. https://goo.gl/44x15Y
53. The new taxes on hotels & rental cars hurt the tourism industry, one of the primary driving forces in Nashville’s economy.
54. Higher hotel tax would hurt the Convention Center’s business. Convention planners book hotel room blocks based on overall price including taxes.
55. The business tax increases the tax by 20%. It will hurt small businesses, a driving force in our city & economy.
56. The plan does not address fare levels for riding the trains. Mayor’s office says people will ride for free, further straining Metro’s budget.
57. The Mayor’s office claims the cost is $5.4 billion & wanted that on the ballot. On p. 50 in the plan, the real total cost is $8.95 billion.
58. The Council asked the mayor’s office that the Council be included in the creation of the transit plan. The Council was not included (Source: Shulman).
59. Realizing the dire situation of the MTA, the Metro Council filed an ordinance requiring the MTA to report to the Council & not just to the Mayor. That ordinance was not complied with (Shulman).
60. MTA will not respond to public records requests RE ridership data. Clerk’s office also denied the request.
61. The plan contains vague, ambiguous information about funding details (Charts 6 and 14).
62. The plan has deceptive images showing eight-lane roadways (p. 23), which are currently four lanes.
63. Widening the roads would require major restructuring of the right of ways, current buildings, utilities, water/sewer. Metro’s use of eminent domain to take property from taxpayers would result in lawsuits.
64. Nashville is in a flood plain/basin. The regular heavy rains would wreak havoc on construction & the electric rail tracks & systems and be dangerous for all commuters & riders.
65. Mayor’s office will not respond to our calls or emails requesting response to this list & the contents of it.
66. Metro’s major projects have already burdened the city: $1B MC Center, football, baseball & $275M soccer stadiums, Bridgestone, Ascend & more. Now $9B for light rail for 1% of commuters.
67. Mayor’s office set the vote to take place on the lowest voter turnout election every four years. In 2011, only 6% of adults voted (32,200), 92% of them Democrats.
68. The plan was made public near Christmas 2017, approved as referendum in February, giving the public only 16 weeks to understand & learn the details of the plan.
69. Roadways w/ planned light rail are only four lanes, thus too narrow for the three lanes needed for LRT.
70. Mayor’s office touts Denver as a “model” for Nash light rail. Yet, Denver’s plan is regional: it is built & paid for by seven (7) counties. This plan is city only.
71. Charlotte, NC, is bigger than Nash. They spent $460M on one light rail line of 10 miles. It serves 820 riders per mile per day, 0.005% of commuters (apta.com).
72. I-840 & its 77 miles allow drivers to avoid city congestion. 840 travels through four counties & provides access to I-40 & connections to I-24 & I-65.
73. The plan will add bus rapid transit on 4 primary roadways, eliminating 2 lanes on 4-lane roadways. The plan does not address the loss of lanes & how this loss will affect traffic.
74. The loss of lanes will, after completion: reduce critical lanes; eliminate turn lanes; block side streets; block entrance/exits to/from small businesses; restrict flow of emergency vehicles; & worse.
75. Construction during the 14-year build out will cause massive traffic congestion on Nashville’s primary roadway arteries.
76. Emergency vehicles: both during & after construction, the light rail & BRT lanes will greatly impede the travel of emergency vehicles, police, fire, ambulance & EMTs.
77. It will be 196 years before Nash reaches population density level meriting an underground tunnel. The mega-cities with underground transit have pop. density 11 times greater than Nashville’s. Nashville is ranked 36th in the nation in population; 14,500 to 1,300 PD.
78. Light rail is 15 mph max – school zone speed; very slow.
79. Most people do not live close enough to the rail lines to justify using it.
80. “Real life” factors: we need transport during the day.
81. Rail riders must get transport to & from the rail; wait for the train; stop at every stop.
82. Light rail commute times are often longer than car commutes.
83. Light rail is inflexible & does not adapt to commuter or transit needs.
84. Light rail is incredibly expensive to install, operate, maintain, manage, power (electricity; coal from the TVA) and more. Light rail costs $150 million per mile to install. Rapid bus lanes cost $8.5 million per mile.
85. The plan will not reduce traffic congestion but will make it worse.
86. 98% of commuters will never use the light rail or bus rapid transit.
87. Transit expert Dr. Malcolm Getz, VU professor, reveals in his 18-page critique of the plan that it will not reduce traffic congestion or increase transit ridership. https://goo.gl/eRNR8Z
88. All rail systems are a major burden to cities & to taxpayers.
89. People are renting homes closer to their workplaces, eliminating the need for expensive transit like light rail.
Why public transit is declining & dying:
90. Tech: all the transit & tech developments: More people are renting homes closer to their workplaces & do not need public transit.
91. Sharing economy: Uber, Lyft, Relay Rides, Getaround, Sidecar, Airbnb, Task Rabbit, Zarly, Snapgoods, Dogvacay, Fon, Lending Club.
The gig economy, collaborative consumption, peer-to-peer services.
92. Affordability of cars.
93. Telecommuting: internet & tech allowing people to work from home.
94. Location: more office & commercial hubs are outside of downtown.
95. Delivery services & apps: delivery tech is changing how we commute, drive, get, consume & live. Apps, Amazon, drones & more.
96. Driverless cars will transport people without accidents, parking or traffic surges.
97. We need a transportation board that is elected not appointed.
98. A majority of the Metro Council approves whatever the Mayor presents. They in turn get favor from the Mayor when they need it. It’s how politics works.
99. Megan Barry created the plan along with MTA & small-town mayors. She has pushed for it & was the face of it. Barry resigned from office & pleaded guilty to felony theft in a plea deal. Her Metro budget was $243 in debt after two yrs. as mayor. She also spent $2.4 million in taxpayer money on frills, extra staff, bodyguards & her love affair with bodyguard Sgt. Rob Forrest.
100. $9 billion reasons: the plan is one of the most expensive per capita city govt. projects in history. Cost per current transit rider: $568,000 per rider, or $28,400 per rider per year. Metro is misusing, misspending & miseverything with our money. Barry’s Metro is $243 million debt after two years. She spent $2.55 million on unneeded frills in two years. RE Transit plan, Metro hired MP&F founder’s daughter at $85K salary & the PAC has paid MP&F & other PR firms $442,000 in 2017 to promote the transit plan; they will likely pay them as much as $1 million total. Metro is doing backroom deals, such as $600,000+ paid to Metro COO Riebeling’s friend Atema for “work” at the Fairgrounds, where an improvement budget for $3m is now $8.5million, unexplained & unapproved. Barry did a backroom deal to sell 20 prime acres of real estate (Fort Negley) to a developer who was one of her primary campaign donors. These are just some of the deals we know about.
Transit & Financial Experts Analyze the 55-page NTIP Plan:
- The NTIP mass transit plan is ambiguous about what is new expenditure and what is the already existing, MTA bus baseline expenses.
- It is also ambiguous about how many of the expected rail and bus passengers are already making transit trips today. The appropriate analysis is to compare the added costs to the added riders. The 55-page plan does not do this.
- The plan does not compare the added costs of operating the express bus lanes and the five light rails lines (each of which cost about $800 million or more), which would be the appropriate analysis of year-after-year operating costs/budget and year-after-year added income from ridership.
- Mayor Barry was asked recently, “Do the citizens need to pass the referendum to learn what is in it?” She responded: “It’s a bit of a leap of faith.”
- A recent Mayoral team presentation (at Vandy) stated that “people will be able to ride the bus for free.” The Mayoral team stated that “every Davidson County resident could get free monthly bus passes.” It was not explained how this would affect revenues, which they acknowledge only cover 23% of the MTA budget. The plan states that bus fares will cover 23% of operating costs, while according the MTA’s own audit (link below), in Fiscal 2017 MTA funded 16% of the operating expenses. If people ride the buses for free, then the percentage of costs MTA covers would be even lower than projected.
- In the Mayoral team presentation at Vanderbilt, only students were allowed to ask questions; therefore, the ambiguities in the verbal transit pitch and possible discrepancies between the printed plan and the speeches went unchallenged.
Serious Financial Risks and Issues with the NTIP Plan:
- The building of the light rails and trains would begin in 2023 and continue until 14 years from now, 2032. The plan does not address fare levels for riding the trains. A transit expert asks, “Will there be a separate charge to ride the train?”
- The plan is ambiguous about exactly what the funding in the first few years pays for. But the assumption is the funds go to pay for expanding bus operations.
- In 2023, the rates go to the highest level given in the referendum. For several years, the added funds pay only interests on the bonds that will be used to build the railroads.
- By 2031, Nashville taxpayers will be paying $166 million just on debt service.
- The funding plan assumes Nashville will be getting a $143 million annual federal grant, something that is not a guarantee and is a risk.
- Around 2040, the expected flow of tax revenues at that time will shift to a level payment of principle and interest lasting until 2060. The plan calls this “sculpting the debt profile over time to maximize what can be spent to build out the railroads within the one-cent sales tax flow of revenue.” This scheme frightens people who know more about municipal finance that I do. A severe national recession could put our city in a compromised position.
- The Mayor’s office set this referendum to take place during the County Primary (takes place every four years), which has 92% Democratic voter turnout and 8% Republican voter turnout. Yes, that is correct. In the 2014 County primary, 29,500 Democrats voted in the elections- which are for judges, circuit court clerks, criminal court clerks, political party committemen, aldermens, etc, etc- while 2,700 Republicans voted. The Democratic machine already has 30,000 votes FOR this boondoggle, and we do not know what voter turnout will be. The opposition likely needs at least 45,000 votes or more to defeat it. In the 2015 Mayoral election, 60K people voted for Barry; 50,000 voted for Fox.
Moreover, the plan was made public near Christmas 2017, approved as referendum in February, giving the public only 16 weeks to understand and learn what the NTIP plan actually does.
- Sales tax is growing slower than other taxes, because the economy is moving toward technology and services (no sales tax) and away from goods, which have sales tax. That means that over time, sales tax will not collect enough money for the NTIP project, furthering straining Metro, which will be forced to raise other taxes to meet the budget. Studies show that sales tax increases could and often do actually lower overall sales tax collections, as consumers buy less and buy goods in other counties & online to save money. If sales tax collections do not meet projections, the City will have to raise taxes in other ways to pay for NTIP.
Higher sales tax will hurt businesses, especially those located near county lines, next to counties with lower sales tax rates.
News story: https://goo.gl/44x15Y
- Though 90% of the NTIP funding is from sales tax on Nashville taxpayers, NTIP would also raise taxes for hotels and rental cars, hurting the tourism industry, one of the primary driving forces in Nashville’s economy.
- The Chamber, Barry’s biggest supporter, released their own “study” that 47% of our sales tax is paid by people outside of Davidson Co. pay our sales tax. They released the 1.5 page document six (6) days before Barry’s announcement that a 1% sales tax increase would fund the plan. The more accurate figure is that residents of Davidson Co. pay 80%-90% of the sales tax here. The study is a COI document to support the Mayor’s plan.
- Higher hotel tax would hurt the Music City Center’s convention business. Convention planners book hotel room blocks based on overall price including taxes. If Nashville’s rates are higher than other cities’ rates, Nashville could very well lose convention business, hurting tourism and the struggling Music City Center.
- NTIP raises the business tax in Davidson Co. by 20%, hurting businesses and small businesses, a driving force in our city & the economy.
- What do independent, unbiased transit experts say about the NTIP plan? Vanderbilt Economics professor & transit expert Dr. Malcolm Getz offers a compelling case against NTIP and light rail in his “Critique of the Nashville Transit Improvement Plan,” an 18-page summary which reveals light rail does not reduce traffic congestion and creates serious and dangerous economic issues for Nashville for more than 40 years, 2018 to 2060. The critique is at this link: goo.gl/ejpW4R
- A Nashville leader and businessman describes how he feels about the actual NTIP plan and its funding and financial aspects (the tax plan, the bond, the debt sculpting of the bond, and more). He writes: “I find it all scary.”
- Who is FOR the plan? The primary person backing and promoting the plan is Mayor Megan Barry. Currently, three agencies are investigating Barry for possible criminal conduct and other violations including misuse of public money. On February 1, 2018, in the midst of spending most of her mayoral time promoting the plan, Barry, who is married, made public her two-year affair with her married police security detail Sgt. Rob Forrest, her subordinate. Days later, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation began an investigation of Barry and potential violations of the law. In all, reporters have uncovered more than $225,000 in taxpayer money Barry used to further her affair with Forrest (see chart below). A formal complaint was issued against Barry regarding the potential favoritism she granted the Metro Police during an investigation. ($33,000 for trips; $75,000 for overtime for Forrest; $80,000 for two years of salary for Forrest’s daughter.)
- Of the 41 members of the Metro Council, 80% or more fully side with Barry on everything; they support her, so that when they need it, she will return the favor. Many approved the plan to go to referendum without really knowing the details.
- The list of Metro’s highest salaries is staggering & shocking: eight (8) NES execs making $180+K; MCC CEO $250+K, Judges making $180+K (the list below is from 2014). Pro-transit Butch Sypridon, “Head of Tourism” for Nashville (the CVB, see below) from good sources makes $700,000 a year – he is a yes-man for whatever Mayor is on office. Nashville citizens are too good, too smart to let a few politicians and rich bureaucrats ruin our city. The Convention & Visitors Bureau promotes Nashville’s tourism. Easy job, a quasi-govt agency. Vote NO April 11-26 and May 1.
- Mayor’s office & Chamber etc have an army of PR firms, policy firms, and more, like the Calvert Street Group, McNeely Pigott Fox and many others, who are PAID and working full time for many months, “acting on behalf of Metro/Mayors office” promoting and advocating for the NTIP public transit plan. They manage the social media, the press releases, the slick graphic design displays, and all the other promotional material, essentially brainwashing Nashville taxpayers into believing the NTIP plan will be good for Nashville. Govt fleecing – that is, swindling through deception – at its best.
- In the year 2033-2035, according to all data (chart is below), MTA will lose $350 million per year and self-fund only 4% of its budget. In those three years after build out, MTA will have staggering losses of $1.04 billion, just in operating expenses to operate the 96 bus routes, the five (5) light rail lines, the tunnel, etc. $1.04 billion.
- Nashville Land: Limestone Rock, Resulting in Narrow Roadways, Unsuitable for Two Lanes of Light Rail
Nashville’s roadways right of ways – the roads and sidewalks of a main road – are narrow, only four or at most five lanes. Most cities have six (6) lane roadways and wider right of ways. Why is this? When Nashville’s city founders built our main roadways, they made them four (4) lanes, because Nashville’s land is limestone rock – most cities have dirt only and not rock under the soil. At that time, building roadbeds on rock was very, very difficult, time-consuming and costly. They had to painstakingly dynamite blast the rock down to a depth, then lay rocks of different sizes into the ground to create a firm roadbed. All that work is now done. But this rock aspect of our land is why our roads are narrow, only four lanes and not six.
Metro Nashville has delayed adding traffic reduction strategies, including widening roads, something that requires much work and planning, made even more difficult because the right of ways are narrow.
We need a better plan. We need the right plan, created by the right people, groups, businesses, private enterprise, and more, that will be effective, efficient, and right for Nashville.
Please vote NO in the referendum April 11-26 and on May 1.