Nashville Council approves May referendum on $5.4B (or $8.9B) transit referendum

The Metropolitan Nashville Council has voted 34-2 to give final approval to adding Mayor Megan Barry’s transit referendum to the local primary election ballot on May 1, reports The Tennessean.

But bucking the administration, the council tweaked the referendum language to list both the transit proposal’s present-day cost of $5.4 billion as well as the estimated amount of long-term revenue needed for the project, $8.95 billion. The mayor’s office had lobbied for only the lower amount to go on the ballot. 

It sets the stage for what will be one of the most momentous public referendums in Nashville history and continues a campaign that’s already turned heated in recent weeks between the two sides.

…The measure ended up passing by a wide margin despite new dynamics after Barry, the face of the transit referendum campaign, admitted last week to having an affair with the former head of her police security detail.

Although the mayor’s office continued to push for holding the referendum in May, some transit referendum supporters — in order to boost chances for passage by voters — had floated deferring the proposal to elections in either August or November. But no council members ended up pushing for a delay Tuesday. 

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