As I was flying back from Washington, DC last night and I was thinking about how I would describe in a little report what was accomplished yesterday. I thought I would tell you who I was able to touch base with.
First of all, Diane Neal, Malcolm Getz and myself all met with Mr. Peter Rogoff, who is head of the Federal Transit Administration at his office in Washington, DC. Mr. Rogoff and his top officials were very nice and tried to answer all of our questions about the process. The process is anything but a done deal. Malcolm and Diane pointed out many of our arguments against the AMP project to Mr. Rogoff and his staff. We also were able to deliver a letter from Lola Brown, who by the way is the late Dr. Dorthey Browns' daughter, to the acting director of the office of civil rights of the FTA. This letter addressed the inequity of this AMP bus route for people that live in North Nashville, but gives no increase in bus service to that same community. Dr. Sekou Franklin has already filed a civil rights complaint against the FTA for lack of current service to the parts of Nashville with high unemployment rates and the lack of input on planning of the AMP. They gave us a timeline of how this project would move forward. We must get busy and ramp up our efforts. We will have more definitive plans in an E-Mail early next week.
After that meeting, Diane and Malcolm left for the airport and I headed to the U.S.Capitol. I text Congressman Steve Cohen from Memphis and he responded to come on by his office. Well he preceded to take me with him to a vote and introduced me to many members of Congress. I had a few minutes with Congressmen Stephen Fincher from Frog Jump, TN. and Congressmen Hal Rogers and Ed Whitfield, both of Kentucky. I went by the offices of Congressmen Jim Cooper and Jimmy Duncan. I just left my business card at Congress Lady Diane Blacks' office. I also was able to meet personally with Mr. Jim Tymon who is a key contact person in the Congressional office of the House Transportation Committee. I left him a report that Margo Chambers had prepared. So on balance with just 12 hours on the ground in Washington, DC I think it was a banner day for the StopAMP.org team. I do think I need to do another trip in the next 30 days and have a tactical plan on who to see and why we are visiting them.
Congressman Cohen was great about introducing me around due to our 35 year friendship. But it certainly was a lucky day that only God could have directed to happen. I will give you more details in our meeting next week. I am working with Diane and Malcolm to have a joint steering committee meeting
between BRT Concerns, Inc. and Citizens for Responsible Transit next week.
ALSO, I learned from Congressman Cohen's office that the transit authority in Memphis is wanting to do a BRT in Memphis. And just like Nashville, they are using the most traveled and economically advanced route like West End Avenue: Popular Avenue which goes to the wealthier part of Memphis, Germantown. GO FIGURE!!!!!
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Board Member of Citizens for Responsible Transit.