Four reasons the plan will not work and is wrong for Nashville:
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, the current 2% rate of transit ridership will increase to 2.5%. 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 & other strategies are more effective than light rail to deal with traffic congestion, especially in a city like Nashville, with 525 sq miles & low population density. Moreover, with tech changing driving & traffic very rapidly, light rail – obsolete now – will be completely, totally obsolete in 15 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. 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, and bankrupts our city. Four new taxes are added, including sales tax increase, causing Nashville to have the highest sales tax in the nation.
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 and 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.
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.

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Video: “Why the Transit Plan Won’t Work”

Video: “Megan Barry’s Transit Plan: It’s All About the Money” Pt 1

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 info@bettertransit4nashville.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 voting for a $9 billion plan which includes $7.8 billion for light rail costs (87% is for light rail), then it is only fair that those who vote for the plan utilize the light rail. We respectfully ask for you to promise and commit to riding the light rail for your commuting (work & personal) 80% or more of your commuting days. 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 info@bettertransit4nashville.com. So far, we have not received any names.

Urgent message to Nashville voters: 87% 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. We ask anyone to email us/message us on FB, with such data & studies. 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 etc – and it is a failure there. The pro side says, “We have to plan ahead…” For 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 and big businesses who will benefit. Light rail hurts everybody – especially the poor, the working class, the middle class, the bus commuters, it hurts everybody. 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, “NTIP 74 Reasons to Vote NO.” 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.

Another reason these ridiculous transit projects pass: many, many people in Nashville cannot speak out, because it will hurt them in their job & career. 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 and 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 “74 Reasons to Vote NO” – 74 Massive Problems Why NTIP is Wrong for Nashville

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.

Read “74 Reasons to Vote NO” below . . . Please forward this site to everyone you know . . . Like us on Facebook

NTIP Light Rail & Tunnel Transit:

74 Major Problems & Issues

74 Reasons to Vote NO, AGAINST

74 Reasons We Need a Better Plan

Light rail is 15 mph max- school zone speed.

NTIP Light Rail & Tunnel Transit:

74 Major Problems & Issues

74 Reasons to Vote NO, AGAINST

74 Reasons We Need a Better Plan

Three (3) Primary Reasons — THESE THREE POINTS ARE ENOUGH TO PROVE THIS PLAN WILL NOT WORK & IS WRONG FOR NASHVILLE; ALL POINTS BELOW ARE IMPORTANT, BUT THESE THREE ARE THE PRIMARY ONES:

  1. The massive cost; $9 billion for a plan that will not reduce traffic (revealed in study after study, in all the data) and 97% of commuters will NEVER use. Nashville will have the highest sales tax in the nation, 10.25%; every Nashvillian will pay $16,000 in the next 14 years for NTIP

 

  1. The plan’s light rail – 90% of the cost – will not relieve traffic congestion. The cities that have it do not relieve their traffic congestion. Click here to learn about the failure of light rail in the five (5) U.S. cities which built light rail in the 1980s. The 40-year study of those and all rail systems prove that light rail will not work anywhere, especially not in Nashville. We and our leaders should learn from those cities’ disastrous mistakes. Light rail is 15 mph, slow, stops a lot, and will take up three (3) vital lanes on primary roadways which are only four or five lanes. Reference: VU’s Dr. Malcolm Getz’s 18-page study of the NTIP Plan.

 

  1. Other cities with rail have regional systems built for the region. No other light rail system in a city like Nashville has met projections or relieved traffic; all light rail systems are a major burden to the taxpayers for generations, both for build out AND the massive ongoing losses to keep them going. (Charlotte NC has one city line of 10 miles; see below.)

74 Major Problems with NTIP

74 Reasons to Vote NO April 11-26 and May 1

  1. We need a better transit plan, the right plan for Nashville, a regional plan, created by experts, with improved bus service, new technology and more. How do we deal with increasing population? Implement effective, practical, flexible solutions, such as BRT bus rapid transit; express bus lanes; improved bus services; new technology for transit; the dozens of practical, cost-effective solutions to traffic, like rush hour lane reversal, Goog smart stop light tech, and more.
  1. NTIP was created by the MTA & a group of mayors from small towns outside of Davidson Co. – THEY DO NOT EVEN LIVE HERE. It is a city plan that is forcing Nashville taxpayers to pay $9 billion for light rail that 97% of drivers will never use and that will eliminate two and three vitals lanes from four & five-lane roadways.
  1. The massive cost and severe taxes will be financially disastrous for our city for 42+ years, for a system that will not reduce traffic congestion and is a dying sector: public transit. This month, no surprise, Metro announced the city is having serious financial problems. https://goo.gl/TxHcFq
  1. All light rail systems in the U.S. are regional systems, not city rail systems. This issue is one of the most important failures of the NTIP plan. The NTIP plan does not address or deal with the biggest Nashville traffic issue of all – commuters and travelers into and out of Davidson Co. The five (5) planned light rails only go 4-5 miles & stop halfway to the county lines. Nashville needs a regional plan, not a city plan. Also see No. 22.
  1. According to all current transit models and stats, the NTIP plan will, at best, in 2032 and beyond, increase Nashville’s public transit ridership from 2% to approx.. 3%. A better plan can and will get better results at a fraction of the cost. See Chart 1 below.
  1. Other cities with light rail ALL have much larger populations and population densities than Nashville. See Chart 2 below.
  1. Nashville is 5th in the nation in land area, 525 square miles, among cities with 1+ million population. Nashville is spread out, rendering light rail ineffective for the land type here, another reason light rail will be ineffective in reducing traffic. Light rail will not benefit the city or reduce traffic congestion.
  1. Mass transit creates and enables urban sprawl, destroys the environment & ruins neighborhoods. A generation after mass transit is installed, the city is hollowed out, a slum area; examples are Chicago, Detroit & others.
  1. Underground tunnel in Nashville? Only a handful of mega-cities in the U.S. have any underground transit – all of them are the most populous regions in the nation, w/ average populations of 10.5 million and average Population Densities of 14,500 people per square mile. Nashville is ranked 36th in the nation in population. A Projection for Nashville’s population growth & levels through 2040 – 780K – are not even close to levels requiring any kind of underground transit. See Chart 2 below.
  1. NEW: Better Transit for Nashville has requested to the Mayor’s Office, Let’s Move Nashville and the Nashville Transit Alliance to have a friendly, civil public forum between pro and against citizens, who have no conflict of interest. No one from any of the three groups has responded in any way.
  1. Cities with underground transit have Population Densities (PD) which are, on average, 11 times greater than the PD of Nashville; 14,500 to Nashville’s 1,300. An underground tunnel in Nashville is ridiculous and unneeded. We need experts, not the MTA, creating a transit plan for Nashville.
  1. NTIP hurts everyone, causing Nashville to have the highest sales tax in the nation, tied only with Chicago. But it especially hurts the poor & the lower class, as sales tax hurts them the most (find out more here: https://goo.gl/gTSFf1-). TN has the highest sales tax in the nation already. Rail also eliminates much-needed affordable housing for the poor.
  1. Who benefits? The rich and big business; the companies & businesses who will make big money from the $9 billion build out and Metro’s ongoing $2 billion/yr budgets. Goldman Sachs is pushing hard for this plan to pass, as they will make between $50-100 million on the $5.4 BILLION in bonds that will be floated to pay for the light rail. Sales tax only pays a portion of the $9B. A few politicians and rich businessmen are fleecing Nashville’s great citizens. Butch Spyridon, the Head of Tourism for Nashville, endorsed the transit plan; he is rumored to make $700,000+. Now we know where the hotel tax money goes.
  1. Studies and analysis reveal that light rail, which is 87% of $9 billion cost, does not relieve traffic congestion. Rail is already outdated today and will be completely obsolete when the light rail is completed in 15 years.
  1. Nashville’s five (5) main roadway right of ways – the land from sidewalk to sidewalk – are four lanes, not six, and therefore too narrow for light rail’s two lanes. See full explanation below.
  1. The new economy today and for the future is the cutting-edge, sharing economy, emerging technologies & electric grid systems that are transforming how we commute, travel and live. The NTIP plan does not include ANYTHING related to this sharing & tech economy – NOTHING. Leave it to govt to create disaster. There are dozens of tech strategies working already around the nation. Why hasn’t Metro tried to implement them? Google smart stop lights, smart street lights, ride-sharing, app delivery services of all the goods we need, drone delivery, Uber & Lyft’s technology, self-driving cars, driverless cars, and much more..
  1. Who created the NTIP plan? The MTA, the failed Metro bus line that lost $286 million in the last five years and is projected to lose $2.3 BILLION during the 14-year buildout – on the CURRENT Bus Service Routes ONLY, not including losses incurred on operating the new buildout. All charts are below. Yes, you heard that right. The NTIP plan was created by the MTA (and some mayors- see the next point). The MTA self-funds only 16% of its operating budget. We the taxpayers pay $50 million a year to prop it up and keep it going. The feds and the state pay another $17 million a year to keep it operating. All Charts are below.
  1. The other entity that helped create the NTIP Plan is a “ghost” “authority” agency called the RTA, consisting of mayors from towns in eight counties OUTSIDE of Nashville. Nashville taxpayers and citizens are paying $9+ billion for a light rail system created by mayors NOT FROM OR LIVING IN NASHVILLE and by the MTA.
  1. In ten (10) online lists of the city’s with the worst commutes in the nation, Nashville is not on ANY of them – and not even close. If it takes a while to get somewhere, it is primarily because Nashville is 525 sq. miles, the 5th largest city land area in the nation. Light rail will not reduce commute time; in fact, light rail commutes in Nashville will take longer than car commutes. There is no incentive to ride light rail.
  1. Nashville taxpayers will pay $1.2 BILLION cash during the next 14 years into the MTA Bus Agency for the CURRENT MTA Service – 96 routes in all. This figure is NOT included in the NTIP total capital outlay of $9 billion. So, the REAL effective cost of public transit during the next 14 years is $10.1 billion or more. See MTA Charts 3 and 4 below.
  1. Realizing the dire situation of the MTA, the Metro Council took action and filed an ordinance requiring the MTA to report to the Council and not just to the Mayor. Councilman at Large Jim Shulman states: “In 2016, we filed the ordinance. That ordinance was not complied with.”
  1. Cities similar in size to Nashville have tried light rail, and in every city it is a declining and failing operation, does not lessen traffic congestion, and is a major, even catastrophic burden for the city’s taxpayers. Light rail systems on average self-fund about 15-20% of their operating budget, leaving the taxpayers to pay 80% or more.
  1. Almost all cities with rail are many times bigger than Nashville. One city, Charlotte, NC, 2.5 million pop. (Nash is 1.8M) began with one (1) line, 10 miles at a cost of $460M. It is foolish for Nashville to present a referendum for $9 billion, five (5) rail lines and an underground tunnel, when in reality light rail does not reduce traffic. Govt irresponsibility and mismanagement at its best.
  1. Many if not all cities relied on federal funding for some of the cost of light rail. Today, experts say that it is very difficult for cities to get federal funding for light rail. Why do those cities keep it going? If they stop light rail anytime in the 30 years after the grant, they have to pay the grant back. Therefore, they HAVE to keep it going, even though it is major burden and has to be subsidized.
  1. Denver’s light rail is on lists as one of the nation’s biggest government waste projects. Yet, the Mayor’s office touts Denver as a “model” for Nashville. The facts: Denver’s light rail system is REGIONAL, with ALL SEVEN COUNTIES paying for it. It was created by and for the region and covers all seven (7) counties. In Denver, after 45 years of raising funds and 20+ years of building rail, they have 3% rail ridership of all people commuting in the region. Their current light rail average commute times are the same as current Nashville car commute times. The bottom line: light rail is inefficient and ineffective.
  1. Who is FOR the plan? Those for it will get a piece of the massive spending for the plan. The donors to the PRO side- called Citizens for Greater Mobility ($1.3 million raised so far) have a conflict of interest and stand to get Metro business in the buildout & elsewhere: builders, contractors, utility companies, banks, PR firms, etc.
  1. A major omission in the 55-page plan is the lack of analysis of the effect of the transit program on the capacity of the altered streets to move traffic. Proposed Nashville light rail will completely and totally alter nine (9) current major corridors and roadways, reducing critical lanes, eliminating turn lanes, reducing the number of current car lanes, eliminating bike lanes and sidewalks, blocking entrances to businesses and offices, wreaking havoc for years, and many, many similar problems. The 55-page plan does not address this issue in any way, shape or form. Can you imagine the five major roadways today without two major lanes?
  1. The Gallatin Rd. light rail is not even needed, because the current treasure of Ellington Parkway is the absolute perfect solution to current and future traffic on Gallatin Rd. There will be no incentive to ride the Gallatin Rd. light rail.
  1. Light rail’s speed is 15 mph maximum. Yes, 15 mph. They cannot go faster than 15 mph.
  1. Light rail commutes are slow and inefficient, providing no incentive to the public to use them. Commute times are the same as car commute times. Riders on light rail must complete numerous steps and jump through hoops to use it. They must: get transport to and from the beginning and ending stations; wait for the train; stop with every stop along the way; deal with transfers; then, find transport to their final destination.
  1. Public transit is declining. Nashville public transit ridership (MTA buses) is down 3% annually for each of the past two years. Nationally, transit ridership is declining at 3.5% annually. Transit ridership is dying, as the sharing economy is changing the way we live, work, play, commute, travel, and transport ourselves and our things. See chart below. See MTA Chart 5 below.
  1. The new sharing economy will actually reduce the number of cars on the roads, a general trend that is another big reason that public transit- buses, light rail- is becoming obsolete.
  1. Yet, with all transit problems and all the potential of technology and the new economy, the NTIP plan is TEN TIMES bigger than any other Metro Nashville govt project and is the biggest city government project in state history.
  1. Okay, then, what is effective public transport? There are many, many effective, proven solutions and technologies, proven effective in other cities, to reduce traffic congestion, almost all of which are NOT at all included and incorporated into the NTIP plan. If Metro/Mayor cannot manage the current budgets for MTA ($90M; $77M in losses annually; more below)/Public works, how will they manage the $9 billion build out & the resulting $350 million operating budgets in 2033 and beyond?
  1. 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 and dangerous bonds the city will get in 2023 and pay off in 2060, 37 years later.
  1. Those who benefit from the rail are the landowners near the light rail lines and stations, as their property values are artificially increased because of the $billions the government is spending.
  1. Light rail pushes the poor out of their homes, known as gentrification of neighborhoods. As property values rise near the light rail lines and stations, light rail continues the tragic pushing out of the poor from their current neighborhood, forcing them to leave, as wealthy people who can afford the higher rent and costs of living move in and take over neighborhoods. These factors cause there to be less affordable housing for the poor and power-income earners.
  1. Study after study, and city rail project after project, reveal that transit does not reduce car traffic congestion. The “iron law of traffic” is that car traffic expands to fill available lanes.
  1. The massive cost of $9 billion and more. MTA will lose $2.25 BILLION in the next 14 years, with Nashville taxpayers paying 50% or more of it (see charts below); and there are always more cost overruns. The staggering expenses will decrease and crowd out much-needed funding for all other Metro programs and departments, for schools, education, jobs programs, housing, seniors, the disabled, police, fire, and more.
  1. NEW: Feb 2018: Metro spends more money than they take in and is using the dwindling reserve accounts to survive. Under Megan Barry (two years total), Metro has increased spending more than $243 million, 6% each year. Metro has increased debt obligations and lower tax collections. And Metro wants to spend $9 billion on light rail & a tunnel that will not reduce congestion and will help less than 1% of commuters?
  1. A study reveals that every person in Nashville will pay approximately $16,000 over the next fourteen (14) years to pay for this transit plan. If a household has four (4) people, the household will pay $64,000 for the transit plan to be implemented. All for a plan that will not work.
  1. The catastrophic cost. Acc. to financial experts, the $9 billion cost places Nashville in a compromised financial situation. Metro already has financial concerns that should take much higher priority.
  1. The NTIP plan is scheduled to be completed in 14 years. Modern technology is rapidly changing how live. Our sharing, commuting, driving economy and way of life is changing every year and will be completely different in five and even more so in 10 years. The NTIP does not adjust with the changing times and creates an inflexible, government project Metro will have to tax, subsidize, pay for, and support for decades and generations.
  1. The Mayor’s office claims the cost is $5.4 billion. The real cost is $8.9 billion. This claim is just one of many ways the Mayor’s office is being irresponsible and deceptive in their presentation of the NTIP plan (see below).
  1. Councilman at Large Jim Shulman states: “During the development of the NTIP plan, we the Council asked the Mayor’s Office and the MTA/RTA to include us [the Metro Council] in the process. That never happened.”
  1. Gross inaccuracies in the plan, incl. deceptive images. Most of the images of light rail depict more lanes than could possibly be on the roadway. Example: the image (p. 23) of the Charlotte Ave light rail shows eight (8) total lanes for cars and light rail. Charlotte Ave currently has five (5) lanes and at times four (4) lanes; and the road is tight. Similar presentation of the Dickerson Rd. images. The images are inaccurate and deceptive.

Transit & Financial Experts Analyze the 55-page NTIP Plan:

  1. The NTIP mass transit plan is ambiguous about what is new expenditure and what is the already existing, MTA bus baseline expenses.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.”
  1. 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.
  1. 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:

  1. 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?”
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. By 2031, Nashville taxpayers will be paying $166 million just on debt service.
  1. The funding plan assumes Nashville will be getting a $143 million annual federal grant, something that is not a guarantee and is a risk.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.

  1. 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

  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. NTIP raises the business tax in Davidson Co. by 20%, hurting businesses and small businesses, a driving force in our city & the economy.
  1. 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
  1. 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.”
  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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.)
  1. 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.

Annual Top 150 Metro Nashville Salaries

  1. 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.
  1. Metro has built and funded project after project: Music City Center ($1 billion), baseball stadium, Ascend Amphitheater, maintenance and raised taxes for Nissan/Bridgestone Arena, the $275 soccer stadium planned, and now this? Enough is enough. Read here how the Music City Center is struggling, has falling revenues and had its bond downgraded.
  1. 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.

74. The restricted roadways with light rail taking up three lanes – leaving limited lanes to move traffic for the 97% of commuters – will also restrict police and emergency vehicles from getting to their destinations. The restricted roadways will hinder and obstruct: police, sheriff’s office personnel, fire department, ambulances, medical service personnel, EMTs, and more from emergency travel, as well as school buses, threatening our citizens and neighborhoods.

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.

Chart 1

 

Light rail is projected to increase Nashville’s public transit ridership from current 2% level to approximately 2.2%, based on case studies of six (6) current light rail systems in cities with average CSA populations of 4.3 million; not including MTA’s and public transit’s current 3% annual decline rate in ridership.

Transit & Financial Experts Analyze the 55-page NTIP Plan:

  1. The NTIP mass transit plan is ambiguous about what is new expenditure and what is the already existing, MTA bus baseline expenses.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.”
  1. 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.
  1. 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:

  1. 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?”
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. By 2031, Nashville taxpayers will be paying $166 million just on debt service.
  1. The funding plan assumes Nashville will be getting a $143 million annual federal grant, something that is not a guarantee and is a risk.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.

  1. 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

  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. NTIP raises the business tax in Davidson Co. by 20%, hurting businesses and small businesses, a driving force in our city & the economy.
  1. 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
  1. 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.”
  1. 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.)
  1. 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.
  1. 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.

Annual Top 150 Metro Nashville Salaries

  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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.