Mayor Marty’s Latest Big Idea

Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chavez is acting as if the city itself won the latest lottery jackpot. A week ago he introduced plans for a new, taxpayer-backed downtown sports arena, now he is pushing his latest big-budget idea, a so-called “modern streetcar” running along Central Avenue from Old Town to Nob Hill and from Central Avenue to the Sunport.” (I urge you to check the previous link to the schedule of “town hall” meetings the Mayor is holding on this project and to attend and speak your mind as I will)
Never mind that the cost for this system would be $240 million (split evenly betwen the city and the state) and that although the Mayor has repeatedly called the system “modern streetcar,” it is really just a light rail system that brings all the costs and problems of light rail (cost overruns, slowness of service, and clogged streets among the prominent issues).
Beyond all of the problems associated with light rail is the question that must be asked, “Why do we need light rail running down Central Avenue when the Rapid Ride serves the same purpuse at a much lower cost?” Instead of blowing $240 million on a shiny new toy, Mayor Marty should consider ways to expand bus service to serve more people at a far lower cost, or he should do nothing and let taxpayers keep some of their hard-earned money for a change.