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A final showdown over Nashville's transit plan is approaching


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WMOT/TNS)  --  The May 1 primary and Metro Nashville referendum are fast approaching and opinions on the city’s $5.4 billion transit plan remain sharply divided.

The proposal calls for five light rail lines and four rapid bus lines to be complete by 2032. Four different city taxes would be increased to cover some of the cost.

Among the plan’s supporters, the group Transit for Nashville. Spokesperson Kelly Brockman says the plan will cost Nashvillians between $5 and $10 per person each month in additional taxes. She sees that as a small price to pay.

"It's giving an opportunity to create a long-lasting transportation plan that will not only enhance walkability and safety but improve access to jobs and accommodate our growth. Nashville has just grown tremendously over the past few years, with almost 100 people moving here per day."

The Metro transit plan also has its detractors, including the conservative Beacon Center.  Ron Shultis is the group’s policy coordinator. He says the Beacon Center isn’t opposed to the entire transit plan, but has strong reservations about one of the schemes more ambitious components.

“We don’t deny the fact that we need to do something. However, when mass transit ridership is generally falling nationally, the idea that our solution is to invest billions of dollars on an already antiquated light rail system that will take about 15 years to build is crazy.”

Shultis says the Beacon Center does support improving the city’s bus system, something that can be accomplished quickly and at a lower cost.