$27M in federal funds proposed for controversial AMP - WKRN News 2

$27M in federal funds proposed for controversial AMP

Posted: Updated: March 4, 2014 07:05 PM CST

The federal budget proposed Tuesday by President Barack Obama has $27 million in it for Nashville's proposed rapid bus transit system called AMP.

Nashville Mayor Karl Dean, who proposed the project, called the funding "great news" in a Tuesday afternoon news conference to go over the figure.

The $27 million is significantly less than what the city has requested to help fund the overall $174 million project, but Dean said more AMP money can come in future federal budgets.

He was asked about how federal transportation officials made funding decisions.

"Apparently the way they apparently disperse money is over a series of years so they can do more projects." Dean said after a mid-afternoon news conference. "This is a huge validator, The FTA, the Federal Transit Association is filled with experts, people who do this for a living who are the best in the country."

Metro Transit Authority officials had applied for $75 million in grants from the federal government.

AMP has run into significant opposition after it was highlighted in last year's State of Metro address from Dean.

Red Stop AMP signs have popped up in several Nashville neighborhoods along the 7.1-mile proposed route that would go from the Five Points area of east Nashville to the Saint Thomas area in west Nashville.

Most have cited the cost and design of the project for opposition.

In response, green Yes AMP signs have appeared in support of the project.

Many were held behind the Mayor as he made the AMP funding announcement.

Mayor Dean has said the AMP is one way to deal with Nashville's congestion problems "and we must do it right he contends."

AMP opponents were not too impressed with the initial funding request.

Dianne Neal who lives on West End where the AMP would pass told News 2 by email that "No surprise the President endorses a mass transit program."

She contended that it, "Makes no difference whether a specific application gets included in this budget or not. Our application is not complete. The key is that Metro cannot spend any money now in hopes that the feds, in two years, will reimburse. Not permitted under the Federal guidelines. We will make sure the Council understands this."

Dean said Tuesday that he does not plan to ask the State or Metro government for a funding package until the design process for the AMP is closer to completion.

He added that "we are still working on engineering" and "we are still open to discussions with people."

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