Sunday, October 11, 2015

The Boston Globe explains how Dean's Amp project was defeated.

Nashville’s ambitious new bus line seemed to have a green light — until the GOP-led Legislature, with help from the Koch brothers, stepped in. 

By Michael Kranish, Boston Globe, October 10, 2015 NASHVILLE — Karl Dean, a Democrat
in his second term as this city’s mayor, had a few minutes to tell President Obama about his dream: building a “trackless trolley” line that would connect Nashville’s gentrifying east side with its ritzy west. He had spent years submitting applications for a $75 million grant, and he made sure the president knew about it.

Two months after that January 2014 meeting in Nashville, the dream seemed to be coming true. The White House announced that money for Dean’s project was in the president’s budget.

..... “I’m not used to having the state come in and try to crush us,” Dean said in an interview last month, on his last full day in office. .... It showed how national politics, and secretly financed outside groups, can influence even local battles. ..... A city ordinance designed to stop discrimination against gays and lesbians was undone by the state. An effort to ban guns in Nashville’s parks was overturned by the state. .... Then came the battle over the 7-mile high-speed bus line, lyrically dubbed the
Rick Williams was the leading opponent of the Amp in Nashville.
“Amp,” that was supposed bring together the disparate sides of Music City. Instead, it tore Nashville apart. ... this sort of local battle has become a key to success for groups such as Americans for Prosperity, the Koch-backed organization that counts its Tennessee chapter among its most effective. ....
Rick Williams, the owner of Nashville Limousine Service for 15 years, also was aghast. ...
Williams said. He became chairman of a group he called “Stop Amp,” but said he figured the project was a done deal. ... Lee Beaman ..... also believed there was no chance to kill the project at City Hall, given Dean’s support. But stopping it at the state level seemed doable. That is where the Koch-supported group came in.

My Comment:  This is a good article, is well written, and captures the flavor of Nashville in words and pictures.  The writer got a few things wrong however in explaining the AMP: it was a dumb idea, proposed for the wrong corridor, and almost no one wanted it.

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