Futuristic visions, no matter how grand, must not ignore the needs and wants of the current tax payers, period.
The highest ridership and need for public transportation is North Nashville. Federal funding is supposed to look at need, and in West Nashville, those who "ought to" use BRT/AMP don't want it and don't need it. Those who need improved transportation will likely get worse than what they have now, as funding from MTA gets funneled to BRT/AMP.
One of the lessons some of us learn about municipal politics (and particularly about Metro politics in the last few years) is that allocation of resources is a zero-sum game. What is spent in one place has to be taken from some other place when the annual budget is seeing increasingly smaller returns. So, I tend to agree with Jennifer. The casualties with the building of BRT/AMP will be riders who stand to gain from it were it not in West Nashville or at least not so far into West Nashville in order to run rapid transit northbound. Funding to support North Nashville ridership will be at risk with the new project because there are only so many resources to go around. "AMP" will be the new baby; other lines, the tired, old stepchildren.
Metro seems to be hurtling toward dropping $7.5 million on BRT/AMP in order to leverage $75 million from the federal government. Prospects are just as good that--if the federal dollars do come through (a big if)--that future administrations could just continue to divert more money into transit upgrades to the east-west line as a nod to the symbolics of mass transit without substance for North Nashville and its shrinking benefits. Running bus rapid transit down Charlotte Pike makes more sense due to service to greater potential ridership, but Charlotte is not nearly as sexy or as marketable as is the West End-Vandy "brand".
Finally, notice that Mayor Karl Dean refuses to make any promises to North Nashville about transit upgrades on the horizon. I'll wager he does not because he will not want to be accused of breaking those promises in any future run for higher office. AMP could be his signature transit project with which to campaign (with an assist from Washington DC). He has doubled down on West Nashville by ignoring the need for and refusing commitments to similar transit upgrades in North Nashville.
While I generally support quality mass transit, I cannot support BRT/AMP as it stands with no firm commitment to points north. There is little in this plan for us.