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Mayor Directs Amp Project Team to Examine Non-Dedicated Lanes for Western-Most Portion of Amp Route

4/1/2014

New Citizens Advisory Committee to Provide Feedback

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Mayor Karl Dean today announced that he has directed the Amp project team to examine redesigning the bus rapid transit system without dedicated lanes from Interstate 440 to White Bridge Road in response to community concerns. He also directed the project team to examine operating the Amp in mixed traffic near the Interstate 40 overpass downtown.

Additionally, Mayor Dean announced a plan to create a 20-member Citizens Advisory Committee for the Amp, which will serve as a vehicle for the project team to share information about the Amp design and solicit feedback. The group also will meet with the project team to provide input on design and service options. Local and state representatives along the route will be asked to help select Committee members, and members are expected to include merchants, property owners, neighbors, business leaders and other stakeholders on the route.

“Based on the project team’s advice and my own desire to create an environment of compromise and collaboration, I am directing the Amp project team to consider these design changes, most significantly for the western-most portion to operate similarly to the ‘BRT lite’ system operating on Gallatin and Murfreesboro roads,” Mayor Dean said. “I also will be convening a Citizens Advisory Committee to help facilitate a two-way conversation with the project team and the neighborhoods most greatly impacted by this project. I expect this group, which will inevitably include both supporters of the project and dissenting voices, to work together to make the Amp the best possible transit solution for Nashville.”

The Amp’s engineering team is working on final design, which is an appropriate time to incorporate revisions to the Amp’s design and service delivery. As well, the Federal Transit Administration expects these types of revisions to occur during the environmental review process that is underway. The project team expects to have updated design plans by the fall.

A memo (attached) from Amp Project Manager Mark Sturtevant of the Nashville MTA and Steve Goodreau, principal with the engineering services consultant on the Amp, outlines how the proposed design changes will be incorporated into both the environmental review process and the scoring of the project under the FTA’s rating and evaluation criteria. They point out that any revisions to the design and function of the Amp must be acceptable under the National Environmental Policy Act and maintain the project’s eligibility for federal funding.

Among other factors, the team will analyze the potential impact of design changes on the Amp’s cost-effectiveness, as well as the potential reduction in the Amp’s speed, efficiency and predictability.

In March, the FTA and U.S. Department of Transportation announced the Amp had been selected for $27 million in funding in President Obama’s proposed FY 2015 budget, the first installment of $75 million in federal funds for the project. Last year, the Metro Council voted overwhelmingly to support a capital spending plan to provide $7.5 million to begin final engineering and design of the Amp.