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Nashville’s Transit Referendum: A Turning Point for Housing and Mobility

Note: To shine light on a topic of interest “next door” to us in the city, we are sharing the following blog by permission of our friends at Greater Nashville REALTORS®. The post, from 2024 Greater Nashville president Kevin Wilson, was published on the Association’s website and in the Real Estate section of The Tennessean. We hope you enjoy this important perspective.

Also, a virtual event is planned to discuss the subject in more depth: Greater Nashville REALTORS®: Nashonomics Now: Thursday, February 29—The Next Steps and Future of Mass Transit in Middle Tennessee. Learn more here.

As Nashville residents look to the future, the possibility of a transit referendum is generating excitement and hope. While the prospect of improved transit systems brings promises of better mobility and economic growth, it also holds the potential to shape the city’s housing landscape significantly.

Nashville has struggled with transit-related challenges for years. To address these issues and secure funding for essential transit projects, Nashville must bring forth a well-defined transit plan and take it to voters through a referendum.

The transit referendum is more than just a vote on transportation; it’s a pivotal moment that can redefine the city’s housing availability, affordability, and accessibility. Here’s how:

Economic Growth and Opportunity: Transit investments have the power to stimulate economic growth by creating jobs in construction, maintenance, and operation. This fosters economic mobility without the burden of owning a personal vehicle, making homeownership more attainable.

Health and Wellness: A robust public transit system can improve public health by reducing air pollution. Accessible public transit encourages physical activity, leading to healthier lifestyles.

Equity and Social Inclusion: Transit services bridge the gap for marginalized communities by offering affordable transportation options and connecting everyone to essential services, education, and job opportunities.

Environmental Sustainability: Transit-oriented development can play a crucial role in reducing carbon emissions, mitigating the impact of climate change.

Community Resilience and Connectivity: Reliable and efficient transit systems create stronger, more connected communities. It strengthens community ties, providing better access to cultural and recreational activities, ultimately promoting a sense of belonging.

Quality of Life Improvements: A well-planned transit system can reduce traffic congestion, leading to less time spent commuting and increased productivity for residents.

Long-Term Cost Savings: Investments in transit infrastructure can lead to long-term cost savings by reducing road maintenance expenses, traffic congestion-related costs, and healthcare expenditures due to improved air quality and fewer accidents.

Strategic Regional Development:  Transit-oriented development attracts businesses and investment, promoting smart growth strategies that foster vibrant, economically resilient communities.

Mayor [Freddie] O’Connell’s administration’s decision regarding the transit referendum will have far-reaching implications for Nashville’s housing market and overall quality of life. It presents an opportunity to create a more equitable, sustainable, and prosperous city where homeownership is within reach for all.

Kevin Wilson is President of Greater Nashville REALTORS®. A REALTOR® is a member of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) who subscribes to its strict code of ethics.

About EMTAR: Chartered in 1969, our Association’s 1,300+ REALTORS® are a proud part of the 36,000+ members of Tennessee REALTORS® and of the 1.5 million+ members of NAR, all working to serve the public and protect the rights of America’s property owners. EMTAR members are known not only for their unmatched real estate excellence and high ethical standards, but also for being generous, hospitable, others-focused, loyal, hardworking, and eager to help wherever and whenever help is needed.