Albuquerque residents are already paying millions for bus rapid transit

Things have been rather quiet on the Albuquerque Rapid Transit front recently. City staff has been meeting with opposed Central Avenue business owners in an effort to gain support for the project. Also, just today, driving down Paseo del Norte I saw a billboard promoting the bus rapid transit system (those billboards aren’t free, by the way, in fact they are more taxpayer-financed lobbying) as far as I’m concerned.

That got me to thinking, “With projected costs at $130 million now (including $30 million to re-locate water and sewer lines), what has already been spent on this project? After all, consultants (and advertising) don’t come cheap. Fortunately, thanks to the City’s “ABQ the View” transparency site (kudos to Mayor Berry on that), you can look up some information on how much the City has spent on consultants Parsons Brinkerhoff and HDR (the folks who brought us the Rail Runner, which is assisting in planning the system). The former has studied the issue for the City.

As we found on “ABQ the View,” HDR and Parsons Brinkerhoff have raked in a total of $12.3 million in the last few years. The City’s website does not break out exactly what the money was for, but we believe that a majority of HDR’s $9.6 million was for bus rapid transit while all or nearly allof the Parsons Brinkerhoff Company’s $2.6 million was for the bus.

Whatever the exact amount, City of Albuquerque taxpayers are already paying out significant money for a project that they’ve had no say over, has never seen even a stand-alone, up-or-down vote in City Council, and the final details of which are very unclear.

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8 Replies to “Albuquerque residents are already paying millions for bus rapid transit”

    1. Thank you Gloria. It would seem that many on the left would/should oppose this. I’d like to see more regular bus service including evenings and weekends rather than a fancy new project.

  1. Mr Mayor: I’m guessing you want to run for governor and you have done a pretty good job in Alb. I also know you want a legacy but don’t STRAP our fair city w/ a “white elephant”, w/ your trolly running down Central, as Gov Richardson did w/ the Rail Runner + Spaceport to NM. With hope you do the right thing for our city, William A Wiley Jr.

  2. I’ve always felt that Mayor Berry is a very sharp guy, and I still do. So, I simply can’t imagine what his thinking is on this absurd project. The area of town that this will serve is hardly the biggest retail area in the City. To demonstrate exactly where that really is one should notice the $3 million about to be spent adding another left turn lane off of I-40 to get to the major shopping centers. Like it or not, the City Government is not going to dictate where people shop!!

  3. I, also , am perplexed by Mayor Berry’s thinking on this project.
    I don’t see why this is needed down Central either. Bad idea to mess with historical route 66 anyway.
    While the subject is city buses, I might as well put my two cents in. I do think a city the size of Albuquerque should have bus service. I think taxpayers could pay to set up the system (as we have), HOWEVER, once it’s operating, the people using the service should be paying for it’s maintenance. I think fares are way too low.

  4. Great research by Mr. Gessing. To the best of my knowledge, this info has not been reported in any other news media in N.M. My question is this: Will the City of Albuquerque give 12.3 million dollars to OPPONENTS of these hair brained projects so that opponents can hire experts to produce reports saying that the projects are ridiculous?

    Reminds me of the “study” done (with taxpayer money) during the Richardson administration “proving” that giving big tax breaks to movie and tv producers would be the greatest thing since sliced bread for N.M. History and every other study I have ever seen proves this not to have been true.

  5. We drove from 5th to the BioPark this week. Putting in this choo choo train would prevent all road traffic on much of that section. Nob Hill would be ruined.

    If ABQ wants rapid transit, how about moving Rail Roader so it passes by Balloon Fiesta Park, the State Fair Ground, UNM, and the Sunport? You know, places where people actually travel and park?

    But why should Albuquerque care about what I think? I live in Rio Rancho.

  6. So far, virtually every business along Central opposes the new transit system. The only people who have voiced support are: a) politicians and government employees; b) developers who stand to profit from subsidized development; and c) professional urban planners who instinctively hate automobiles and would prefer to live in Copenhagen.

    Can someone commission a valid public opinion poll or, better yet, get this issue on the ballot?

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