Community divided over proposed rapid bus transit - WKRN News 2

Community divided over proposed rapid bus transit

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -

With red yard signs saying "Stop AMP" sprinkling the landscape around Nashville's West End corridor, there is a new sign in town trimmed in green that proclaims "AMP Yes."

The sign is shorthand for a group of community and business leaders that launched a coalition Friday morning supporting a long-term rapid transit strategy called AMP.

AMP vehicles, which will initially cover a 7.1 mile area connecting east and west Nashville, will not travel in traffic with other motorists, but will instead travel in dedicated lanes that would allow them to move at a quicker pace.

The buses would run from the Five Points area in east Nashville through downtown and out to the St. Thomas West Hospital area in west Nashville.

"Nashville is a vibrant and growing metropolitan area, and with that growth come challenges in making it possible for people to get where they need to go," said Dr. Mike Schatzlein, who is adding chairman of the Amp Coalition to his duties as CEO of Saint Thomas Health.  

He added, "The AMP is the right first step in the transit solution for Nashville. If we take this step now, we can keep our city moving."

While supporters of the AMP have some high powered individuals such as Mayor Karl Dean, there is firepower on the StopAMP side as well that include auto dealer Lee Beaman and prominent lawyer Dianne Neal.

There are also individuals like Steve Rush and his wife Nancy who live on West End Avenue between Interstate 440 and St.Thomas West Hospital.

"I think we were one of the first ones to have the little [Stop AMP] signs out, and then one of the larger ones," Rush told News 2. "I just don't think [supporters] know how disruptive it would be."

Rush, who is a Nashville lawyer, added that he's not sure that the AMP's bus lanes and waiting area "are all going to fit" on West End, and he's worried about a what he called a lack of turning lanes going into town, all which have been common criticisms heard at community meetings about the AMP.

The AMP project is estimated to cost approximately $175 million.  It would be paid for with a combination of federal, state and Metro funds.

For more information on the AMP Coalition, visit their Web site.

Opponents, also have a Web site, StopAmp.org.

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