Nashville MTA plans to seek entry of the AMP project into the Federal Transit Administration's Small Starts program under MAP-21, new transportation law that went into effect on Oct. 1.
The MTA based this decision on advice it received from its consultant's team in Washington, DC, who recently shared that they expect there to be approximately $200 million less than anticipated for Small Starts projects next year. Projects already underway are likely to receive any funding that is available. Some of those projects will reach completion in the next year, which puts the AMP in a better position to receive funds in 2014.
MTA is confident that it is in the best interest of the project to apply for Small Starts under the MAP-21 legislation after the new federal guidelines are published. By going this route, MTA and its consultant team will be able to fully understand the impact of the MAP-21 legislation on the Nashville application and will continue to conduct public outreach and move the planning process forward.
The AMP is now in the third phase of a three-phase federal process. The second phase was the Preliminary Engineering and Environmental Analysis, which finalized the BRT route and the locations of the proposed 17 transit stations. In January 2012, after a year-long study to evaluate high-capacity transit options, the Nashville MTA Board approved BRT operating in exclusive lanes as the preferred option.