NASHVILLE, Tennessee (WKRN) – In his State of the Subway address Thursday, Mayor John Cooper spoke of “our needed future infrastructure investments,” pledging to commit to affordable housing and transportation.
“Right now we’re way behind and with the growth in Nashville we’re falling further behind every day,” said Scott Troxel, a real estate agent for Keller Williams and former president of Greater Nashville Realtors who is heavily involved in public transport and infrastructure works. .
He says it’s time to think big. After all, we are a big city and public transit is important for affordability.
“A lot of people continue to cling to an image that never existed or that did not exist 40 years ago when we were a small town or a small town,” he said. “So when things like density are brought up, when things like public transit are brought up, greenways are brought up, people turn to fear, fearing that it will lower property values or cause damage. increase crime. ”
We saw it in 2018 when voters said no to former Mayor Megan Berry’s vision for new rail lines and an underground downtown tunnel.
Mayor Cooper, the last to try to fix Metro’s transit system, or lack thereof.
“I think the mayor has a plan that could become light rail, but it’s mostly built around bus rapid transit, which in my opinion is a great first step towards public transit in Nashville, ”Troxel said.
In his remarks, Mayor Cooper said, “In total, this will be the biggest transportation funding we have ever seen.
This transportation funding, which is part of a $ 1.6 billion Metro Nashville Mayor’s Office Transportation Plan December 2020.
One major project described is a $ 180 million WeGo Better Bus proposal, which aims to expand bus services, increase frequency and add up to 10 neighborhood transit hubs.
“On the Clarksville Highway, the North Nashville Transit Hub will improve transit while increasing access to jobs in the area,” Mayor Cooper said Tuesday.
If the current plan falls flat, Troxel says it will start to have an impact on the city’s attractiveness or affordability.
Nashvillians will be forced, or are already forced to choose between exorbitant housing costs or transportation.
“You see some of the neighborhoods gentrifying,” Troxel said. “The question is, where are people going? A lot of people have to move to Antioch, the Hermitage or even outside the city, but this is going to require that they definitely have a car as it is very difficult to have a working bus system in Antioch, it’s so sprawling. When you kick someone out of a house where their family has been there for 50 to 60 years, it usually means they’ll have to buy a car or two that they didn’t need before. “
Troxel says we need to densify and quickly.
“I think we had room to play, but it’s catching up very quickly,” Troxel said. “We never put on the big boy’s pants and said we were a big city; we have to start acting like a big city.