It’s bad enough that “Albuquerque Rapid Transit” will cripple the economic viability of businesses along historic Route 66, induce traffic congestion, (likely) run well over budget, and do zilch to attract and retain Millennial-generation homesteaders.
Now, ART is going electric. According to the Albuquerque Journal, the city is poised to become the first “in the country to operate a fleet of 60-foot-long electric buses. It also would give the city’s bus rapid transit system a chance to earn a gold environmental rating; no other rapid ride transportation system in the U.S. is gold-rated.”
It’s worth noting that Albuquerque has some of the cleanest air in the country, and hardly needs the minuscule emission reductions that would result from electric buses. But of greater concern is the price tag. The buses will cost $7 million more than comparable diesel models. But the Duke City’s mayor, claiming to be “a fiscal conservative,” claims that operating expenses will result in a net lifetime savings of $14 million. If you buy that justification … you haven’t been paying close attention to ART supporters’ tenuous connection to fiscal reality.
Albuquerque’s experiencing a crime wave. Downtown is a ghost town. The metro region has yet to regain all the jobs it lost in the Great Recession. The police department is, to be charitable, troubled. And taxes keep going up.
Maybe the city’s “leaders” should have other priorities than an electrically powered transit project that isn’t wanted, and can’t work?