Mayor Cooper makes case for $1.6 billion transit plan

Metro Council to vote on plan Tuesday
Posted at 9:51 PM, Dec 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-14 23:26:45-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Nashville Mayor John Cooper is calling on Metro council members to support his $1.6 billion transportation plan.

The council will vote on a resolution supporting the plan at Tuesday's meeting.

"The council works hard on making us a better city," said Mayor John Cooper, "This is an opportunity to really do that."

Mayor Cooper said the plan is the result of one year of work, and countless meetings, calls, public listening sessions, and online input with council members, transportation experts, community groups, and more than three thousand Nashvillians.

The result is a $1.6 billion plan that focuses heavily on neighborhoods.

"In this plan, 95% of the population is very near an improvement," said Mayor Cooper.

The plan features 1,961 traffic and transit improvements like fixing potholes and resurfacing streets in around 300 neighborhoods across Davidson County.

It would also build 38 miles of sidewalk, and create 35 new miles of bikeways and greenways in the city.

There are plans to modernize every traffic light and build a traffic management center that would operate the entire system from a central point. The proposal also invests $180 in bus improvements and a dedicated lane for rapid bus service on Murfreesboro and Clarksville Pikes.

Unlike the multibillion dollar transit plan proposed by former Mayor Megan Barry in 2017, Mayor Cooper's approach does not include a light rail or involve a tax increase for residents.

He said 60% of the plan will be paid for with state and federal grant money. Mayor Cooper said the Biden administration has indicated it will offer infrastructure funding for cities, if the city has a plan in place. That is why he is encouraging council members to sign off on the transportation plan now.

"We want to be first in line to get those additional federal dollars to get them to work in our neighborhoods," said Mayor Cooper.

If the plan is adopted, Nashville can start competing for those dollars as soon as early 2021.

Some Metro Council members have expressed concerns about securing the grant money, and needing more time to review the proposal.

Read the entire plan here: