Excerpts from Mayor’s Remarks (AMP Press Conference)
Nashville’s Amp Receives Funding in Proposed Federal Budget
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Mayor Karl Dean today celebrated 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.
Here are excerpts from Mayor Dean’s remarks at a news conference held today:
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.
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 line item in the budget released today shows us receiving $27 million in Fiscal Year 2015.
This means we will sign a Grant Agreement with the FTA in the second half of this year or the first half of next year.
And the remaining balance – to get us to the total $75 million we requested for this project – will be appropriated in multiple, consecutive fiscal years.
This is a typical practice for the FTA. They recognize the money doesn’t get spent all at once, and so they distribute it in portions to allow more projects to get funding in a single budget.
We have to recognize that the federal budget is a lengthy process, and today is just day one of that process.
But the Small Starts Program has a good track record with Congress, and so we are very optimistic about the road ahead.
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.
The FTA, above any entity, scrutinizes transportation projects and knows how to determine whether or not a project is feasible and whether or not it will work. They are the experts.
Today’s announcement is a major milestone and shows that the FTA recognizes the Amp as a needed transportation solution in Nashville.
From here, the MTA project team will continue its diligent work on the final design and engineering of the Amp.
We started this process five years ago with a study to determine the best transit solution for Nashville’s densest corridor.
Fast forward five years and MTA has held a total of 126 community meetings and forums, engaging and informing well over 10,000 Nashvillians during the process.
Most recently, the project team held a series of community input workshops in January and early February where more than 1,500 people turned out to work directly with our engineering team on final design – and we’re far from done.
It’s important to remember this is not just an investment in one transit project on one corridor.
We are making an investment – and the federal government is making an investment – in the future of mass transit in Nashville and our entire region.
The Amp is the project that will get us started down a path where transit is a bigger part of more people’s everyday lives.
This is a moment for celebration. We will celebrate, but then we will quickly get back to work.
There’s a lot of work still to be done to make the Amp the world-class transit solution we know it will be for Nashville.