Tracy derails state funding for The Amp

Senate Transportation Committee Chairman and U.S. Congressional candidate Jim Tracy wants to edit the the state budget to ban it from funding bus rapid transit projects on state highways.

Tracy’s self-described “tightly drawn” language would essentially ban the state from allocating any money for the Nashville Amp, a signature yet embattled project spearheaded by Democratic Mayor Karl Dean.

“What’s it called, Amp? Those signs that says, “No Amp,” or “Yes on Amp,” those? It would affect that… No funds can be used for that,” Tracy explained to North Nashville’s Sen. Thelma Harper in the Senate Transportation Committee Wednesday in explaining his amendment.

“No, no use taking no vote, Hell, if you already know what you’re going to do,” Harper replied.

Under the current plan, Nashville was seeking $35 million in state funds to go with $60 million from Metro as well as $75 million from the federal government.

Major Republican political contributor and financier of opposition against the Amp, Lee Beaman, was on Capitol Hill today, and other die hard opponents have walked the halls of Legislative Plaza for weeks making their opposition to the Amp project known.

Transportation Commissioner John Schroer had cast doubt the state would be willing to help fund the Amp project in November, a plan to run a bus rapid transit line along West End to East Nashville.

House Speaker Beth Harwell had also said she was unwilling to fund the project this year, which led to Gov. Bill Haslam saying he would follow the speaker’s lead.