ABQ’s bus disaster (and we’re not talking about ART)

While the Rio Grande Foundation worked VERY hard and achieved a big victory recently over “Democracy Dollars,” the Albuquerque election in particular was rather disappointing. The issue of transportation showed voters’ propensity to “blindly” approve ill-advised spending projects.

The starting point was the 1/4 cent transportation tax, 38% of which will be spent on buses and other transit. Another $6 million in tax-financed bonds were approved by voters for transit projects.

But what are we getting for that money in terms of transportation services? The answer is not a whole lot. As Dennis Domrzalski points out in his new report, Albuquerque bus traffic is plummeting Using data provided by the City, Domrzalski found that bus ridership dropped 7.5 percent this year and is down an astonishing 31 percent since 2012.

Perhaps even more troubling is the fact that the percentage of operating costs covered by bus riders has dropped from 10% to 7% since 2013 alone. That’s a 30 percent decline.

With the widely-derided ART boondoggle about to get running, we will see yet another massive investment in transit. But, if transit ridership trends in Albuquerque and elsewhere hold, the bus system will continue to lose riders AND gobs of money.

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3 Replies to “ABQ’s bus disaster (and we’re not talking about ART)”

    1. we are dealing with it in el paso. somehow, city clowncil convinced txdot that a trolley from the international border to utep and from utep back to the international border, a 4.8 mile loop, would spur economic growth in service industry jobs. it didnt. and it hasnt made but 20k since thanksgiving week 2018. the mayor spewed “progress” in the fact that ridership was up in october(it is free to ride until 2020). he stated that txdot paid the 97 million dollars for the project, ignoring the fact that texas taxpayers fund txdot and that the city of el paso is on the hook for all salaries, track maintenance and upkeep of the trolleys. el paso brio rapid transit is also losing millions per year(el paso city bus). the feds keep funding handicap compliant stops and out of town contractors keep raking in the dough. el paso is broke. 3 billion in unfunded long term liabilities. so we are close to the stupidity of albuquerque. lucky the Isotopes only asked 10 million for their field of SCHEMES. the chihuahuas havent made a dime in 5 years and the taxpayers owe big for the stadium. and they still havent built the 2012 voter approved arena. was 120 mil now with todays dollars and min wage for contractors, it will be 300 million.

      1. Thank you! Unfortunately, El Paso is not really covered by a group like ours. The Texas Public Policy Foundation really focuses statewide. El Paso is liberal by Texas standards but probably conservative (and due to sound state policy economically successful) compared to New Mexico cities.

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