Mayor To State: Nashville Is First To Need Mass Transit, Won’t Be Last

Mayor Karl Dean wants federal money to cover around 43 percent of construction for the Amp, which would create a dedicated bus lane from East Nashville to West End. He's also hoping the state will kick in 20 percent.

Mayor Karl Dean wants federal money to cover around 43 percent of construction for the Amp, which would create a dedicated bus lane from East Nashville to West End. He’s also hoping the state will kick in 20 percent.

Nashville Mayor Karl Dean says there’s a case for his new bus proposal to get some funding from the state.  Right now all eyes are on whether the project, known as the Amp, wins federal money – which Dean hopes would make up almost half the Amp’s budget.

With the Amp’s application for federal dollars up in the air until next year, whether it wins over state officials could be a moot point.  The governor acknowledges a need for such efforts in a growing Nashville.  But there’s also a lengthy backlog of other projects across Tennessee hoping for funding.

To that, Mayor Karl Dean says the Amp is a crucial step toward tackling a looming problem for several areas statewide – a problem “you can’t pave your way out of.”

“This is the first big mass transit project in the state.  People are averse to change.  But is it the right thing to do?  Oh, you bet it is.”

Dean says otherwise, in a few years, when traffic along what would be the Amp’s route starts gridlocking, people will ask why more wasn’t done to prevent it.  Asked whether the project could move forward without state funding, Dean said he’ll have to see how it goes – It’s a long process.

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