Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Last Meeting of the AMP Citizens Advisory Committee: Mayor Dean pulls the plug on the AMP.

The highlight of the meeting is the address to the Committee by Mayor Karl Dean. He makes a push for mass transit and says now is not the time to put on the brakes, but he does. He says the project needs to move forward with the design phrase and meeting TDOT standards and Federal environmental impact studies need to move forward. He says, however, he will not be seeking state or local funding for the project for the upcoming year. (To see his remarks see timestamps 2:02:03-2:10:44.)

With this being Dean's last year in office, I think this kills the project. Only one of the announced candidates for Mayor has said he favors the AMP. I would be very surprised if this project moves forward. With little likelihood this project will be build, I hope the Council stops the project now instead of wasting a few more million dollars on design of a project that will not be build. The Council has already appropriated $7.5 million for this project and some of that has been spend, but I would assume not most of it. Unless the Council acts to stop action of the project, money will be spend to advance a project that is going nowhere. I hope someone in the Council is paying attention and can reclaim any unspent money. If the Council does nothing the whole $7.5 million will be wasted.

Most of this meeting is boring with charts and explanations of intersection wait times and number of turns and such as that. It is much more information than the average person would want to know. Here are the other highlights:

Richard Fulton, son of the former Mayor Richard Fulton, and a member of the AMP Advisory Committee gives a fast-passed description of the route and all of the lane changes from center lane to curbside and the turns a bus on the proposed route would have to make.  After his route description he says, "Woe! And this is BRT"? "There has got to be a better way."  He says he thinks that if the AMP is built, it will be such a disaster that it will set mass transit back decades.  (See 1:39:26- 1:43:02)

Dianne Neal says the plan has the best of intentions but is a "cut and paste" and is not a comprehensive plan. We do not know that this is the best alternative. She points out that two key issues, ridership and finances, were not before the committee. She also says we now know the AMP will do nothing to ease traffic congestion. She says the AMP is an example of the Federal government dictating transit solutions to local government without concern that the plan is affordable and sustainable.  (see 1:54:02- 1:57:55)

Here is The Nashville Business Journal report on the meeting:

With Citizens Advisory Committee, Dean's Amp lost the room
 In the end, however, concerns about the $174 million project came from more than just the loudest opponents on the 25-member advisory group, which Dean formed in April to provide regular feedback on the project. As members of the CAC issued final statements during the group's last meeting Tuesday, one thing became apparent: Dean's bus rapid-transit project had lost the room. (link)

Here is The Tennessean's report:
Dean punts Amp decision to next mayor 
Mayor Karl Dean says he won't pursue local or state funding for his Amp project during his final year in office, putting the fate of the controversial bus rapid transit project in the hands of a successor who might not be as enthusiastic about the idea.

Dean, entering his final 11 months in office, announced his new course at the final meeting of a citizens advisory committee he appointed in April to offer input on the 7.1-mile, $175 million transit project that would stretch from East Nashville, downtown through Broadway and onto West End Avenue. (link)

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