Metro Council approves $1.6 billion transportation plan

Posted at 8:56 PM, Dec 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-15 23:40:59-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Metro Council approved a $1.6 billion transportation plan at its meeting on Tuesday night in a 33 to 5 vote, with one abstention.

Mayor Cooper said the 10-year transportation proposal is a necessary investment in Nashville's future. It includes more than 1,900 improvements in neighborhoods across the county, such as adding 38 miles of sidewalks, new bikeways and greenways.

The plan passed with three amendments. In the next three years, the mayor's administration will submit legislation for the council to vote on which would forward a charter amendment to create a Metro Department of Transportation for voters to decide on. Another change was made to specific high-capacity transit in certain corridors in Nashville. The third amendment will widen Central Pike and add a new Music City Star station around the area.

WeGo Public Transit officials are celebrating the council's decision, saying better bus and pedestrian improvements will be a cornerstone of Metro's commitment to safety.

"Metro's support of a holistic, comprehensive approach to improving transportation options throughout Davidson County recognizes a long-overdue need for cross-agency coordination as we work to address the mobility challenges created by the unprecedented growth in the region," WeGo Public Transit CEO Steve Bland said. "The projects in the plan, across all modes of transportation, will make a positive impact on the quality of life and safety of those living, working, and visiting Nashville."

A key part of the transportation plan includes WeGo's "Better Bus" plan. WeGo said its system-redesign will grow the agency's frequent transit network, expand hours of service, bolster the performance of cross-town and connector routes and make needed upgrades to bus stops and shelters.

"WeGo thanks the Metro Council, Mayor Cooper's office, and the countless Nashvillians who have provided valuable feedback on how transportation throughout Davidson County – including transit – can be improved to help our growing city continue to thrive," the agency said in a release on Tuesday night.

This plan does not require a tax increase, which is why Nashville voters did not have to approve it.

Cooper said most of the funding will come from state and federal grants. While Tuesday night's vote helps secure some future funding, the resolution itself is non-binding.