Transit Referendum Survey

The purpose of this survey is to gather YOUR input on the transit referendum slated for vote on May 1, 2017. The questions are meant to account for opinions on all sides of the issue, but no survey is perfect. Each question has a place for comments. Each questions ALSO has a place for additional questions on the specific topic presented. At the end, there is a place for general comments. 

We want to know what YOU think.  1) We will publish the results of this survey, but we will not publish names and emails. 2) We will distribute the survey results to experts on both sides of the issue, in order to get answers to your questions. 3) We will distribute their feedback and answers to you. The Alliance for Green Hills is not taking a position on this transit referendum at this time. 

The referendum language currently reads:

“Passage of this measure allows the Metropolitan Government to improve and expand transit services to include: expanded bus service countywide; new transit lines; new light rail and/or rapid bus service along Nashville’s major corridors, including the Northwest Corridor, and a tunnel connection through downtown Nashville; new neighborhood transit centers; improvements to existing train service; safety improvements, including sidewalks and pedestrian connections; and system modernization. This transit program’s capital cost is estimated to have a present day value of $5,354,000,000 and the program is estimated to require $8,951,062,000 in revenue through 2032. Once construction is complete, the estimated present day value of recurring annual operating and maintenance costs is approximately $99,500,000. The Metropolitan Transit Authority and the Department of Public Works will undertake implementation of the program. This transit program will be funded by tax surcharges, debt, federal grants, farebox revenues and convention center and airport authority participation. The tax surcharges consist of: 1) a sales tax surcharge of 0.5% for the first five years, increasing to 1% in 2023; 2) a hotel/motel tax surcharge of 0.25% for the first five years, increasing to 0.375% in 2023; 3) a 20% surcharge on the business tax; and 4) a 20% surcharge on the rental car tax. These tax surcharges will end once all debt issued for the program has been paid and the Metropolitan Council determines by resolution that the revenues from the tax surcharges are no longer needed for operation of the program. FOR or AGAINST” 

* 1. Please enter your home zip code.

* 2. If you work outside of your home zip code, please enter your work zip code.

* 3. Thinking of the overall transit plan, what is your current opinion?

* 4. The transit plan centers around improvements to downtown Nashville and connecting points closer to the city center. Moving outward from the city center, light rail and bus rapid transit (bus with fewer stops and more frequent service) are planned for the major thoroughfares like Charlotte and Hillsboro Pikes (light rail is not planned for Hillsboro Pike). SEE MAP.  Which statement most closely represents your view on the basic structure of the transit plan?

* 5. Opponents of the transit plan argue that it will create more traffic problems and/or will fail to alleviate traffic problems for areas outside of the city center (like Green Hills). What do you think?

* 6. Proponents of the transit plan argue that a downtown-centered design is the right approach because it will build ridership in the city center, both as a destination and as a connecting point to other destinations. Transit improvements to other counties throughout Middle Tennessee can then be implemented from this hub. What do you think?

* 7. According to the plan, Hillsboro Pike in Green Hills will gain a bus rapid transit line (bus with fewer stops and more frequent service). It is possible that the hub for this line will be located on northbound Hillsboro Pike between Hillsboro High School and Richard Jones Road. What do you think about the bus rapid transit line and proposed hub?

* 8. If a transit center that included parking nearby, a covered waiting and boarding area, and full transit ticketing and information services, were located in the Green Hills area, would you be more likely to use transit in the future?

* 9. For neighborhoods further out from the city center, like Green Hills, the proposed transit plan improvements will be bus-related. Although the plan allocates money for significant bus improvements, the plan does not spell-out each and every improvement for each neighborhood. What do you think about this?

* 10. Four tax sources are proposed to help fund the transit plan. One of these tax sources would be an increase in the local component of the sales tax. Proponents of the plan argue that use of sales tax rather than property tax will, among other things, ensure that some of the plan costs will be paid by non-residents of Davidson County (such as commuters and tourists). If a property tax source were used, the full burden would fall on Davidson County residents. What do you think about the inclusion of the sales tax as a major revenue source to fund the plan?

* 11. The current state sales tax is 9.25 percent. If the transit plan passes, the sales tax will increase to 9.75 percent next year and to 10.25 percent in 2023. What do you think about this?

* 12. Opponents argue that the use of a sales tax could disproportionately affect lower-income persons, because it would tax essential items like food. Proponents argue that reduced fare for lower-income persons and better transit access to jobs in other destinations will help to counteract this. What do you think?

* 13. The cost of the transit plan is framed in two ways: $5.4 Billion in "present day value" or $8.95 Billion over the life of the project. The Mayor's Office has equated the $5.4 Billion figure to the "sticker price" you pay on a house, while $8.95 billion is the total cost once you consider financing costs (including interest) and ongoing operations in the future. Did you know about these two ways of “pricing” the cost of the transit plan prior to taking this survey?

* 14. Does the $8.95 Billion figure make you more or less likely to vote to approve the cost of the transit plan?

* 15. Another source of revenue for the transit plan will be a 20% increase in the business and excise tax. This includes small businesses. What do you think?

* 16. Opponents of the transit plan argue that increasing transit ridership is a non-starter in many areas and they point to low bus ridership numbers as well as the convenience of individual cars.  Transit is an outdated solution at a time when the rise of ride-sharing and innovations like the self-driving vehicle are revolutionizing the way we travel. What do you think?

* 17. Proponents of the transit plan contend that ridership will increase if we build a comprehensive system to make it more convenient, particularly in areas that are more densely populated and more urban. Proponents also contend that traffic in Nashville will continue to worsen such that individual cars (self-driving or otherwise) will become a less desirable option.  What do you think?

* 18. Opponents of the proposed transit plan contend that the plan costs too much and does too little. Proponents contend that our city needs a comprehensive transit plan to ensure continued growth and prosperity. Which statement is closer to your current view of the transit plan?

* 19. Over the past year, have you used transit (MTA or RTA) for travel?

* 20. Do you have any other comments to share?

* 21. Please enter your name (optional).

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* 22. Please enter your email (optional).