‘Amp’ raises questions

William T. Robinson, Jr.

William T. Robinson, Jr.

At one time it was a question of whether there was ample support for the ‘Amp’ (mass transportation project) and who would truly benefit from it. Now it seems that it is going to be done regardless of what a large group of concerned Nashvillians think or want. The only option the opponents have is that they may make suggestions on some design changes on the route.

Along the way it became apparent to many attending meetings discussing the Amp that some parties were merely entertaining questions from concerned participants as a formality. It seems many people with questions feel that the Amp has been pre-approved and given the green light with the approval of major movers in Nashville (the Chamber of Commerce, MTA, mayor, and some council representatives). It appears that the Amp is literally being forced down the throats of Nashvillians who will eventually pick up a substantial part of the costs. Questions are being raised by many, especially as it attains to the effectiveness of this mass transit system, which will cover 7.1 miles from Five Points in east Nashville to St. Thomas Hospital on West End.

Were the meetings voicing concerns or opposition against the Amp a formality for a clandestine deal already made and sealed by an esoteric group? Let’s not play naïve. There is a ton of money to be made on the proposed $174 million project for prospective contractors.

Questions among concerned Nashvillians include: is this the best route to serve the people of Nashville, and better yet will it do the job it is suggested it will do? From many people’s perspectives, it will only aide in traffic congestion with some lanes dedicated for buses only. Support or objection to the proposed project depends on the different parties asked. Both parties claim they have the majority of support whether for or against the Amp.

Out of respect for the people of Nashville, there should be a referendum and oblige the wishes of the majority. Nashville is growing by leaps and bounds, and a mass transportation system would be in keeping with other major cities. However, you can’t help but question if this is the best-proposed route to benefit and serve the people of this city. Will it really reduce travel time? Will it reduce traffic congestion, or add to it? These are legitimate concerns and should be seriously studied and evaluated before a decision is made.

Some communities are concerned about the fairness of job opportunities and employment that will be afforded to minorities or jobless people from economically disadvantaged areas. There are some communities who feel the route would better serve their area and population. Preferential consideration was given the East Nashville West End corridor.
People should not be pitted against each other, because in the final analysis I truly feel that Nashvillians just want the best for their city—as long as it is done equitably and fairly, benefiting all and not just a few. Many people are leery of self-serving projects only benefiting special groups.

It is no secret that the Amp is a project supported by Mayor Karl Dean as part of his legacy to Nashville. That is commendable, because he has done a phenomenal job building up Nashville. Although we are vying for $75 million in federal funds to help finance the Amp, in the long run it is a project that the people of Nashville will have to eventually support as taxpayers. So let’s respect the choice for or against, but don’t cram it down our throats.