5/5/21 Governor Bill Lee, Lt. Governor Randy McNally, House Speaker Cameron Sexton and other leadership at the end of Session press conference

Gov. Bill Lee with legislative leaders

Gov. Bill Lee is proposing issuing $500 million in bonds for the construction of a new domed stadium and $17 million in grants to help ready the Fairgrounds Speedway in Nashville for a potential NASCAR race.

The announcement came as the governor released his budget amendment for the coming fiscal year, and the spending still must be approved by the Tennessee General Assembly. The inclusion of $500 million for a new Titans stadium confirms reporting by Axios on Monday.

The Titans, Metro Nashville and the state have been discussing a possible  replacement for Nissan Stadium. With a permanent or retractable roof, a future facility could put Nashville in the running for major events like the Super Bowl.

It remains to be seen whether Metro leaders can muster support for major spending on a new stadium, and governor’s office representatives said Metro and the Titans would bear the brunt of the cost, the Tennessee Journal reported. Conservative groups like the Beacon Center and Americans for Prosperity have said they oppose spending taxpayer funds on a new stadium, while local community groups like Stand Up Nashville have been seeking guarantees that any development would include affordable housing and other community benefits.

Mayor John Cooper has also been negotiating a potential deal to help fund improvements at the Nashville track in hopes of luring a NASCAR race to the city.

Per the Tennessee Journal, other line items in the budget amendment include a one-month moratorium on the state’s grocery tax (estimated cost $80 million), funding to reduce the professional privilege tax on brokers and others ($20 million), support for Memphis riverfront development ($20 million) and $15 million to pay for voting machines with a paper trail.