Nashville’s mayor is now saying it was never realistic to think funding for a bus rapid transit line would come through before his term ends, blaming congressional gridlock.
Back in March, Dean’s office held a celebratory press conference when the Amp was included in the federal budget. But this month, Dean backed off trying to get construction going while in office. Public pressure was the main consideration. But Dean says the money from Washington was probably in doubt too.
“I don’t think it’s realistic to say that federal money – even though we’re in the President’s budget and have been offered the money to make this project work – will be available during the time that I’m mayor,” he told the Downtown Rotary Club on Monday, responding to an audience question.
Opponents of the Amp made a similar argument when Dean first announced being included in the federal budget. Restrictions on the federal money has also been used as an excuse not to consider alternative routes. More than a third of the $175 million transit line connecting East Nashville and West End was supposed to come from Congress.
Talking to reporters after his speech, Dean said, “there really was no way to move forward this year given the constraints we’re operating under.”