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Mayor announces 3-year plan to combat Nashville's transportation challenges

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) - On Wednesday morning, Mayor Megan Barry announced a three-year agenda aimed at combating Nashville's current transportation challenges.

The plan, which covers 2017 to 2020, is called "Moving the Music City." The mayor presented it at Nashville Public Library during the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation's Sustainable Transportation Awards and Forum.

Mayor Barry estimated Nashville will grow by nearly 1 million residents by 2035 and emphasized the need to address transportation problems in the near-term.

"Moving the Music City" calls for an increase in MTA bus service, including extending current routes and increasing the frequency of service. The plan also says MTA will purchase 31 new hybrid-electric buses in 2017, which will replace current diesel-fueled buses.

The plan provides a rendering of the proposed light-rail line along Gallatin Pike, which the Mayor first announced during her State of Metro address in late April.

The proposed line would run six and a half miles, from Briley Parkway to downtown Nashville.

The Gallatin Pike corridor would be the first in Nashville with a light-rail line, but other thoroughfares including Charlotte Pike, Nolensville Pike, and Murfreesboro Pike are targeted in the future.

Mayor Barry's plan also addresses improving walking and biking options in Nashville, including constructing new sidewalks and creating more bike lanes.

The mayor also spoke about a transit funding referendum that will appear on the Metro ballot in 2018.  Through the referendum, Nashvillians will decide whether they want to fund the proposed transportation improvements.

The specifics of the referendum, including the amount of money needed and what taxes would be raised, was not immediately known.

As part of the plan, a new Division of Transportation will be created within the Metro Public Works Department.

The mayor said the new division was more about consolidating and reorganizing current resources, rather than hiring multiple people for a new division.

Click here to read the full plan.

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