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Education, transportation front and center in mayor’s capital plan

by PRIDE Newsdesk

Mayor John Cooper plans to make the city’s largest-ever education investment.

Education and transportation take center stage in Mayor John Cooper’s capital spending plan (CSP), which includes Nashville’s largest-ever investment for schools and advances transportation improvements without additional tax increases. Two-thirds of the $474.6 million plan go to education and transportation needs.

After Mayor Cooper’s first capital spending plan addressed only emergency projects due to acute fiscal constraints, this year’s CSP brings overdue investment in the needs of a growing city. As a result of revenue increases, budget savings and a recent debt refinancing, Nashville is now in position to invest in its future.

“We are a growing city with growing needs,” Mayor Cooper said. “This plan helps us catch up on maintenance needs while prioritizing our students’ schools more than ever before. These critical investments in our city’s future are possible because we’re now financially stable as a city for the first time in years.”

Metro Finance Director Kevin Crumbo added: “We have achieved financial stability despite daunting challenges.”

A record $191 million for education (the most in Nashville’s history) will fund much-needed school construction, expansion and repairs across Davidson County. Included in this historic investment are funds to build the long-awaited new Hillwood High School in Bellevue, HVAC upgrades made even more critical by the pandemic and major funding toward two schools in Cane Ridge.

The CSP also includes $122 million in transportation investments, delivering on the first phase of the Metro Transportation Plan.

Mayor Cooper’s administration released the Metro Transportation Plan at the end of his first year in office, consistent with the mayor’s campaign commitment. In December 2020, Metro Council adopted the plan to bring greater transportation investment across the county. This CSP provides for transportation improvements without the sales tax increase proposed in previous plans.

Mayor Cooper’s CSP includes other essential community projects, such as replacing Fire Station #2 and building a new police precinct in Southeast Nashville. The plan also commits funding to critical building maintenance, park lighting and repairs, new greenways, and fleet and radio upgrades for first responders.

The plan also includes high-impact down payments on Nashville’s future, in the form of environmental sustainability, affordable housing and a first-of-its-kind North Nashville infrastructure fund to be allocated via participatory budgeting.

“I’m glad to see an emphasis on education and infrastructure as well as an investment in participatory budgeting, which will flow nicely from the Metro Budget 101 series,” said District 2 Councilwoman Kyonzte Toombs.

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