It Would Be A Mistake, Say Critics Calling To Debate Nashville’s Big Bus Proposal

Lee Beaman, who runs a car dealership, has contributed heavily to efforts to derail the mayor's proposed Bus Rapid Transit system across town. (Credit WPLN/Daniel Potter)

Lee Beaman, who runs a car dealership, has contributed heavily to efforts to derail the mayor’s proposed Bus Rapid Transit system across town. (Credit WPLN/Daniel Potter)

Nashville’s proposal for a new bus rapid transit system, known as the Amp, was assailed Wednesday by a wealthy car dealer, along with the son of a former mayor.  The two argue the bus project – which requires a dedicated lane from East Nashville to West End – would be a mistake.

Richard Fulton Jr. says he and his father have made a point not to criticize or fight a subsequent mayor’s agenda – until now.  He argues the complex case for the bus system, based on projected growth and ever-longer commute times,  is simply wrong.

Fulton spoke alongside Lee Beaman, whose car dealership the bus line would run right past.  Beaman says he wants mass transit to improve, but the current proposal could give such efforts a black eye.

“I really feel like implementing the Amp – which I’m convinced will be disastrous, and we will rip it out within ten years – if that happens that will set transportation in Nashville back much more.”

Beaman called for a debate on the bus proposal, singling out by name the head of the Amp Coalition, St. Thomas Hospital CEO Mike Schatzlein (pronounced ‘shots-line’).  Beaman offered to square off early next month.

Schatzlein says he welcomes the chance to discuss the Amp, but prefers “a dialogue rather than a ‘debate,’ to address these very important issues in a civil way.”

You can read Schatzlein’s full statement here:

The Amp is an incredibly important project for the future of our city. Our experience is that the majority of Nashvillians support it as the first step in a long-term transit strategy for our community.

We encourage all Middle Tennesseans to learn more about the Amp, ask questions and express their opinions. Since our Coalition formed seven weeks ago, we have participated in 17 community meetings, with more to come. We will continue to share information about the Amp through presentations, social media, public forums and other outreach efforts.  We encourage people with questions about the Amp to learn more about the project by visiting the MTA website, www.nashvillemta-amp.org.  

We welcome the opportunity to talk with anyone about the Amp, but prefer a dialogue rather than a “debate,” to address these very important issues in a civil way.

The roughly $175 million bus project is still waiting to hear back on a request for federal money to cover more than 40 percent of the cost.  Officials are also hoping to get tens of millions from the state, where top officials are voicing misgivings of their own.

Please keep your community civil. Comments will be moderated prior to posting, and Nashville Public Radio reserves the right to approve them at its discretion. Comments containing links promoting goods, services - even noble organizations - will not be published. Your comments may include external links, but all comments with links will be delayed as they are reviewed. Comments containing profanity will be rejected.