While opponents to May Town Center worry about the risk of development to taxpayers, public transit clearly would require taxpayers to dole out some cash .... Then there are the developers. You might be able to convince some of them to pay for a bridge, but good luck getting them to pony up for public rail.But Lawson draws a faulty connection between the costs of sewer, water, and other utility infracture (which would benefit smaller numbers of people in the immediate location) and light rail systems (which would benefit a wider range of Nashvillians).
Developers are probably only willing to pay for bridges, because they are short-term solutions compared to mass transit systems which have long-term impact: they both take pressure off the environment and make all of those jobs MTC is supposed to create more accessible to prospective employees. The short-term interests of developers are not sufficient reasons in and of themselves for Nashvillians to support MTC without accommodations made in light rail and greener technologies.
Lawson also calls mass transit initiatives the "cart" before the auto culture's "horse." A more apt metaphor for the internal-combustion-oriented MTC development would be the "horse and buggy," as in "high energy prices and deteriorating sustainability are rendering our unfettered car culture as obsolete as the horse and buggy." The idea of expanding mass transit before allowing sprawl in America's last urban farmland is not "cart before horse." It's more like an idea whose time has arrived. Those like Lawson who keep promoting car culture in the name of new urbanism are quickly falling behind the curve.
UPDATE: Richard Lawson comments below that I totally read the opposite meaning of what he intended in his column.