Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Nashville's new Transit Director steps down after just one month on the job, putting in jeopardy O'Connell's planned transit referendum.

Tanisha Hall
 by Rod Williams, Jan. 24, 2023- After only five weeks on the job Tanisha Hall, Nashville's new transit director, is resigning her position. Wow, that is a short tenure. Hall is CEO and owner of Fairpointe Planning which is a woman-owned business with Disadvantaged Business Enterprise certification and somehow serving in the Metro position could jeopardize her firm's Disadvantaged Business Enterprise certification.

Hall's resignation comes at a time when Mayor O'Connell is considering holding a transit funding referendum in November of this year. Hall's resignation could very well pose a major setback to plans for that referendum. O'Connell had said earlier that by the end of January he would make a decision as to whether or not to move forward with a referendum.

A transit referendum would have to be sold to the public and it would likely be a hard sell. On several occasions voters have rejected transit referendums. The transit plan would likely call for new rapid bus lanes and possibly some light rail, but details of the plan would have to be developed. 

State law requires that in order for a transit referendum to get on a ballot, a detailed transit improvement program has to be developed and approved by an independent public accounting firm and the state comptroller, and the Metro Council must approve the plan before it can be put to the voters. Also, a coalition for the new plan would need to be created and money raised for a campaign to convince voter to support it. There is not much time to do what has to be done. 

November of this year is considered the election in which a referendum would have the best chance of passing. November will be a presidential election and a lot of casual voters will be voting then. People who normally ignore local elections will be voting and it is assumed that with a greater turn out, the referendum would stand a better chance of being approved. 

While it is too early to say that a transit referendum in dead for this year, it is certainly in doubt. 

For more on this story see this link, this one, and this one

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