Potential Amp Compromise—With Governor’s Input—Wouldn’t Block Bus Proposal… Yet

State lawmakers have been torn over how involved to get, with some pushing to scuttle the $175M bus proposal altogether. Nashville Mayor Karl Dean had floated the idea last year of asking for some $35M from the state, on top of Metro and federal dollars. (Photo: Taber Andrew Brain/flickr)

State lawmakers have been torn over how involved to get, with some pushing to scuttle the $175M bus proposal altogether. Nashville Mayor Karl Dean had floated the idea last year of asking for some $35M from the state, on top of Metro and federal dollars. (Photo: Taber Andrew Brain/flickr)

With the state legislature just short of finishing a bill targeting Nashville’s high-profile bus proposal, known as the Amp, and session poised to end Thursday, a potential compromise has emerged from talks with lawmakers and the governor’s office.

Two conflicting versions of the bill have passed, but still have to be reconciled to become law.  The House agreed to simply call for oversight of the project, but the Senate’s version (backed by Americans For Prosperity) would torpedo the Amp’s design outright.

“The governor was going to veto the Senate language,” says Rep. Jeremy Durham (R-Franklin).  A draft Durham shared with WPLN suggests one potential compromise in the works would grant the legislature some degree of oversight: If state officials end up recommending funding for the Amp, lawmakers would have the power to weigh in and either approve or take it out during their regular budget process.  

However, if the Amp’s not in the state budget, the draft Durham shared would still require lawmakers’ approval, with a vote from both chambers of the legislature.  “It’s actually easier if you have state funding, ironically, but that was just kind of the way the chips fell,” Durham said.

Because lawmakers are pushing to adjourn for the year on Thursday, any last-minute deal will have to move quickly.

When asked to what extent Gov. Bill Haslam has been involved in negotiating a compromise, his office replied “Staff has been involved in conversations to address his concerns around making bad long term transportation policy in an effort to deal with one road project.”

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