SCALA, Transit, Affordable Housing, LOST

Now that SCALA (Steering Committee for Action on Louisville’s Agenda) is less secretive and more inclusive, SCALA should, as Nashville has, focus on the cornerstone of a healthy city – transportation and land use. Nashville is planning to invest $5.2 billion in their city. The plan, ‘Let’s Move Nashville’, includes “26 miles of light rail across four new lines, four rapid bus lines, expanded bus service for existing routes, a major downtown tunneling project, and some two dozen transit centers across the city.”

What is Nashville doing differently that enables their progress? To begin with, Mayor Megan Barry, rather than lobby the state for an open ended LOST (Local Option Sales Tax), lobbied the state for, and won, an act that “granted municipal authorities the power to introduce surcharges—by referendum vote—on the local sales tax rate, exclusively for the purpose of funding transit.” The key word, the difference between her success and Fischer’s failure, is ‘exclusively’. Mayor Megan Barry sought a local sale tax for public transit only. This was not Fischer’s local option sales tax for ‘whatever’. Armed with that state-granted tool, “’Let’s Move Nashville’ goes up for a referendum vote in May 2018.”

Nashville also leveraged their plan by having “one-third of any TIF funds for transit-oriented development … go toward building affordable housing” in an effort to “to build out transit corridors equitably.”

Transportation and land use. The cornerstone of a city.

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