Metro Councilman Josh Stites has filed an amendment to Mayor Karl Dean's capital spending plan that would require the Metro Transit Authority to study Charlotte Avenue as an alternate route for The Amp.
The $300 million spending plan includes $7.5 million for future engineering work on the mayor's proposed bus rapid transit project, which would travel along the West End corridor. The funds would only be used, however, if the project is accepted by the federal government.
From The City Paper:
“My concern,” Sites said, “is we’re going to spend $7.5 million to consider the East-West connector down West End, and when they bring back the study and it’s going to say that it’s going to cause a lot of headaches, it’s going to cannibalize one of our main thoroughfares, but we think it’s good for Nashville to have rapid transit.”
Stites added, “[The] council is going to ask, ‘Did you look at other routes? Did you look at Charlotte? Did you look at Gallatin Road?’ And they’ll say ‘No, we just looked down West End.’ So the purpose of this amendment is to avoid that. So that they understand that the council’s intent — if the council in fact passes the amendment — is that we want to consider everything. We don’t just want tunnel vision going down West End.”
The mayor and transit officials have made it abundantly clear they're not abandoning the West End route, which makes it hard to imagine 21 council members thumbing their nose at him. But if there are a few yet-undeclared skeptics among them, this could be their chance to announce themselves.
The council votes on the capital spending plan tonight.