We waited to hear if the plan was workable. It’s not.
We waited to see if the funding was fair. It’s not.
We waited to see if the Metro Council would ask critical questions. They haven’t.
So, the time to wait is over.
We must now say this is the wrong plan at the wrong time and people should vote no.
That’s why we are behind NoTax4Tracks PAC
Those who can least afford it will pay the highest sales tax in the nation for a plan that will not help them with traffic congestion.
The cost of the plan outlined by this referendum is more than Nashville can afford. First reported at $5.4 billion, we now know the real projected cost…$9 BILLION in total costs and interest. This includes $2.5 billion in new debt and four separate taxes:
- A 0.5 percent sales tax increase from 9.25 percent to 9.75 percent. By 2023 the tax will have increased to 10.25 percent – making Nashville’s sales tax one of the highest in the U.S. Higher even than New York City.
- A 20 percent increase in the business and excise tax – making it harder for small businesses to operate.
- A one quarter tax on hotel rooms that will increase further through 2023 – jeopardizing Nashville’s ability to continue to grow our tourism and conference industry.
- A 20 percent tax increase on rental cars – further burdening those who rely on our tourism industry.
Most adults will never stop paying for it. This is an unconscionable burden on families, seniors, and small businesses. Even our children’s children will end up paying for this plan.
Additionally, light-rail is not always the answer. Four of the most congested cities in the United States built light-rail systems. These were extremely expensive projects – most costing more and taking longer to build than projected – that that have not solved the traffic problems in those areas. Rail is a 19th century solution to a 21st century problem.
Mass transit projects in Denver, Seattle, and Charlotte were truly regional projects funded 70 percent by state and federal funds. Nashville’s transit plan will not receive state funding and is unlikely to receive the $1.5 billion from the federal government – 27 percent of the total funding – proposed in the plan.
We can do better.
The right plan will be truly regional with significant support from state and federal governments. The first step is to say no to this plan and the higher taxes needed to pay for it. Then all Nashvillians can work together to find a real, comprehensive and affordable solution to our traffic congestion.