It’s looking more doubtful that Nashville will get any financial help from the state to build dedicated bus lanes from East Nashville to West End – a $175 million project known as the “Amp.” The legislature’s Senate Transportation Committee voted Wednesday to block any spending on so-called “bus rapid transit services.”
Sen. Jim Tracy (R-Shelbyville) says in his opinion, TDOT shouldn’t be funding mass transit at all, though his budget amendment doesn’t go that far.
“We need to provide highways and bridges for economic development,” he said.
As chairman of the Transportation Committee, Tracy proposed an amendment to TDOT’s budget so that the agency couldn’t contribute toward the Amp. Nashville Mayor Karl Dean has been counting on state funding to help supplement federal and Metro money.
Opponents have been lobbying the state legislature. Auto dealer Lee Beaman was in the committee room for the budget vote blocking the Amp.
“There are a lot of ways in which it can be stopped at the federal level, on the state level and on the local level,” he said. “And whichever one works, we’re happy with.”
Beaman also happens to be a big GOP fundraiser. He maxed out his contribution to Tracy’s current bid for Congress.
Asked if this was a favor for a donor, Tracy says he didn’t know Beaman was so involved in opposition to the Amp.
“I did know he was against it, but I didn’t know he was out on front of it,” Tracy said. “I’ve never met with the group that is pro-Amp or against the Amp.”