Nashville’s Amp receives funding in proposed federal budget

Mayor Karl Dean announces federal funding for the AMP rapid-transit bus project, at the Metro Courthouse March 4, 2014 in Nashville, Tenn.

Mayor Karl Dean announces federal funding for the AMP rapid-transit bus project, at the Metro Courthouse March 4, 2014 in Nashville, Tenn.

Mayor Karl Dean recently made the announcement that the Amp, Nashville’s bus rapid transit project, has been awarded $27 million in President Obama’s proposed FY 2015 budget. As with other FTA-funded projects, the balance of the full $75 million requested by Nashville is expected to be awarded in multiple, consecutive fiscal years. The Amp Coalition was also extremely encouraged by the news. The 7.1-mile bus rapid transit project that will run from East Nashville to West Nashville.

“I want to start by saying thank you to President Obama, Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and the Federal Transit Administration for their vote of confidence in Nashville and this vital project,” said Mayor Dean. “We understand that the FTA will release additional details about the projects being funded in its grant programs in the coming hours and days, including the Amp.”

The Mayor said the significance of this news is that “it validates that the Amp is the right project on the right corridor to start Nashville and the Middle Tennessee region on a path to having a robust mass transit system that makes moving around our city easier for everyone – with or without a car.”

“This is an important moment for Middle Tennessee,” said Dr. Mike Schatzlein, chairman of the Amp Coalition and president and CEO of Saint Thomas Health. “Learning that our city will receive a Full Funding Grant Agreement from the FTA.”

In September 2013, MTA announced that The Amp had been accepted into project development in the FTA’s Small Starts program. Today, FTA has confirmed it will fully fund the project if MTA meets additional criteria, including completing final engineering design of the project and securing local funding.

“This was a competitive application, and we are very proud of Nashville for qualifying for the maximum amount of the grant,” Schatzlein said. “In the next several months there will be further progress reports from the design team, and the Metro Council will play an important role in approving local funding. We still have a lot of work to do; but today’s announcement is a huge accomplishment, and we applaud the mayor, MTA and everyone else in the city who has put a great deal of effort into this project to put it on a successful path, including local government officials.”

“We are looking forward to engaging with the entire Nashville-area community and members of the Metro Council over the coming months about the importance and benefits of The Amp serving as the strategic spine of Nashville’s long-term regional transit strategy,” said Ralph Schulz, vice chairman of the Amp Coalition and president and CEO of the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce. “Now that we’ve received good news from the FTA, it’s time to talk about how to make this project the best it can be, and we encourage all residents to get involved in the process.”

The Amp Coalition is in the process of scheduling meetings with organizations, businesses and neighborhood groups throughout the area interested in hearing about why The Amp is right for Nashville. If you would like someone from the coalition to come speak at an event, please visit <http://www.ampyes.org/schedule-speaker/> .

The Mayor said that the announcement is a major milestone and shows that the FTA recognizes the Amp as a needed transportation solution in Nashville.