Lawmakers mixed on whether Tennessee should invest in new Titans stadium

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Posted at 7:53 PM, Mar 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-30 07:50:13-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Gov. Bill Lee revealed Tuesday a new budget amendment that would funnel a $500 million investment into a new Tennessee Titans stadium.

Lawmakers had mixed reactions to the news. The plan is part of the yearly budget amendment presented to both the state's House and Senate.

As Butch Eley — commissioner with the state's finance department explained — $500 million would become available to Nashville if the city decided to move forward with a new, covered stadium.

Even though it would almost certainly spur new tourism dollars, lawmakers were a little dismayed at the timing.

"I believe the Titans have visions of developing the campus there," said state Sen. Jack Johnson, R-Franklin. "I believe it's a 130-acre campus. The legislation we passed last year would allow them to keep half of the sales tax generated on the campus if they were to build it out with restaurants, hotels, whatever the case might be. Now, the governor is proposing an additional half a billion dollars. What changed?"

Eley said Metro and the Titans were looking into renovating Nissan Stadium, but the price was high.

"They are in need of a new stadium, and as they've gone through that assessment process of the current stadium, they have come to a realization that a renovation is probably not a real beneficial way to go," Eley said.

The idea is that a new stadium could hold events such as the Final Four, Super Bowl and concerts year-round.

However, Metro Nashville couldn't get the proposed $500 million unless they decided to build a new stadium — not just renovate the current one.

That's a hard sell because Tennesseans would have to pay for it.

Sen. Jeff Yarbro, D-Nashville, said the state should kick in if a new stadium were to be built.

"I think if this is going to go forward, I think the state be a contributor to that project," Yarbro said. "When you think about tourist activity that happens in the city, $2 for every $1 of that goes to the city of Nashville. The state really does benefit in some ways more than the city does in terms of the tourism sector."

He also said with so many needs constantly hanging over the city, it makes sense to be skeptical of such a huge sum of money.

This is just the first presentation of the idea.

Nashville wouldn't have access to the money until a plan for a new stadium is created.