The Bus Stops Here!
"The Tennessee Senate passed a bill last week that, if approved, would broadly ban mass transit projects in the region, an anti-transit effort that's gotten some help in the state from Charles and David Koch.
On Thursday, the Tennessee Senate passed SB 2243, which includes an amendment that "prohibits metropolitan governments and any transit authorities created by a metropolitan government from constructing, maintaining or operating any bus rapid transit system using a separate lane, or other separate right-of-way, dedicated solely to the use of such bus rapid transit system on any state highway or state highway." The amendment is aimed at Nashville's proposed $174 million rapid bus system called the Amp, but would apply to any mass transit system proposed in Tennessee's cities."
"Holly McCall, NashvilleÃ¢ÂÂs Metropolitan Transit AuthorityÃ¢ÂÂs spokesperson for the Amp project, told ThinkProgress AFP has kept a low profile throughout the campaign for and against the Amp. She said sheÃ¢ÂÂd suspected AFP was involved in the AmpÃ¢ÂÂs opposition, but didnÃ¢ÂÂt know for sure until StopAmp.org thanked the group in their press release.
Ã¢ÂÂItÃ¢ÂÂs pretty tough to fight that kind of money - AFP gets funds from the Koch brothers, and theyÃ¢ÂÂre billionaires,Ã¢ÂÂ she said. Ã¢ÂÂWe continue to work our local campaign, and weÃ¢ÂÂre probably going to make some tweaks to the design - weÃ¢ÂÂre interested in compromise, because if we donÃ¢ÂÂt, our entire future transit plan is going to be dictated by people who live out of state.Ã¢ÂÂ
Nashville has a bus system, McCall said, but itÃ¢ÂÂs not enough to transport people throughout the suburbs and into the city, especially not as the city grows. By 2035, almost 1 million new residents will come to live in the Nashville area, according to the MTA.
Ã¢ÂÂIt would be hugely transformational,Ã¢ÂÂ McCall said of the Amp. Ã¢ÂÂIf we donÃ¢ÂÂt do it now, weÃ¢ÂÂre going to be so far behind, and itÃ¢ÂÂs really going to start to hinder our economic development and growth.Ã¢ÂÂ
Mike Schatzlein, chairman of the Amp coalition, said in a statement that the SenateÃ¢ÂÂs passage of the bill was an overreach of its authority."
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Here is a link that might be useful: Ban Mass Transit?