by Steven Hale
A day after a state House sub-committee gave initial approval to legislation that could force substantial alterations on The Amp, opponents from Stop Amp have released an alternative transit plan.
On Wednesday, Rep. Vince Dean — with the support of House Speaker Beth Harwell — proposed an amendment that, as of right now, would only affect Mayor Karl Dean's proposed 7.1 mile bus rapid transit line along West End. The amendment would prevent any metropolitan government (Nashville) from constructing or operating a bus rapid transit system using a dedicated lane (The Amp) on a state highway (West End), without approval from the General Assembly, the commissioner of Transportation and the local legislative body. (The state will already have the ability to say no to funding The Amp, but this bill would mean The Amp's current design needs approval as well.) The committee approved the amendment, but Dean postponed a vote on the amended bill for one week.
Now, Stop Amp has released just the sort of transit line that would be allowed under that legislation. Their "Plan B," unveiled last night at a forum in Belle Meade, is a two-part, 19.6 mile plan similar to the BRT Lite lines already running on Gallatin Road and Murfreesboro Road.
From the plan:
1. Part I is the Harding Road/West End Plan — a 12.1 mile BRT route from the Bellevue Mall to Riverfront Station.
2. Part II is the Charlotte Avenue Plan — a 7.5 mile BRT route from the Charlotte Pike Walmart at RIver Road to Music City Central at 400 Charlotte Avenue.
Both lines, according to the document released by Stop Amp, would have "curbside loading and unloading," as well as some features that are already part of The Amp, as proposed, liked "prepaid fare collection" and "computer adaptive traffic signals with bus priority."
For the sake of comparison, you can refresh your memory on all the details of The Amp here.
Among the advantages Stop Amp claims their plan has over The Amp are increased safety due to curbside stations, no disruption to automobile traffic, no construction, and "projected" savings of $125 million.
President Barack Obama's budget proposal released earlier this week included a recommendation of $27 million for The Amp, which as proposed has a total cost of $175 million. Metro is seeking $75 million total from the federal government for the project, but the mayor told reporters on Tuesday that he expects the rest of the money to be appropriated over the next two years. Metro also plans to seek state and local funds for the project.