Written by Milton J. and Pamela K. Orgeron
Our reasons for opposing the proposed transit plan and for encouraging others to vote “NO” in the referendum scheduled April 11-26 and May 1 are very practical in nature. One does not have to be a rocket scientist to realize that Mayor Barry’s plan is not feasible or affordable. As bus riders, we agree that MTA needs to expand bus service adding connectors across town but that should be a separate issue from the proposed light rail and tunnel.
We support the Better Transit For Nashville (BT4N) and the NoTax4Tracks groups in their efforts to stop Mayor Barry’s transit plan. We agree with the leadership of BT4N’s three primary reasons to oppose the plan, which in brief are
- High cost with little return
- Traffic congestion will get worse rather than better, especially with the plan to build the rail down the middle of the street. We ask, where are the drivers of cars supposed to drive? If the light rail takes the two middle lanes of traffic, as planned, leaving perhaps one lane on each side for the drivers, how would passengers of the light rail board and exit the rail with heavy traffic on both sides? See how the proposed plan makes absolutely no sense whatsoever!
- The failure of light rails in other regions to meet the initial expectations of adding their rails.
Some may think with a light rail, people can give up their cars. Do you really think everyone is going to want to do that? We don’t have a car but if we did, we certainly wouldn’t give up a car for the light rail. We would need to use a car to go grocery shopping, to drive to church, and on other errands, such as doctors’ appointments.
Another question to ask is what about emergency vehicles? How are firemen and paramedics supposed to get around with only one lane of traffic available? It’s common courtesy, and not to mention, the law requires drivers to pull over and let police cars, fire trucks, and ambulances pass on their way to emergencies. With the proposed plan, there would be no place for drivers to pull over to allow emergency vehicles to pass. That makes no sense to us.
We know people are pleased to have their federal taxes reduced. Forcing citizens to pay increased county and/or city taxes to fund something they don’t want nor plan to use defeats the purpose of lowering the federal taxes and is unfair. Federal taxes have been reduced to give citizens extra money to spend where they want, not for local jurisdictions to take by raising taxes. Our local taxes are already too high.
Advocates of the transit plan point out that much of the funding would come from a 20% excise tax on businesses, as well as surrounding counties being motivated to develop their public transit to link to MTA. Actually, surrounding counties would be much more likely to forgo taxing their citizens for public transit, while also attempting to lure existing and potential businesses away from Nashville with lower business taxes, as well as avoiding years of disruption from construction and reduced lanes for car traffic.
Vote NO May 1!