Save the $7.5 million, here’s our analysis of the Rail Runner spur to Balloon Fiesta Park

The City of Albuquerque is hoping that Gov. Lujan-Grisham will fund a $7.5 million study to determine whether a rail spur should be constructed to bring Rail Runner trains directly to Balloon Fiesta Park (at a cost of between $8.4 million and $11.2 million).

Set aside the fact that the study itself is expected to cost almost as much as the rail spur itself. Also, like anyone who has ever gone to Balloon Fiesta Park early in the morning, I too have sat in traffic to get there. I understand there are problems, but the Rail Runner just is not a great solution.

For starters, the Rail Runner stations themselves are inadequate to handle the number of people who would park and go to the Balloon Fiesta ALONG WITH the folks who commute to work on the train. Journal-Center is one station I have used and the lots get pretty full under normal conditions. Of course then there is the diversion of train sets (engines and rail cars) from the existing commuting routes.

Rather than building a whole new set of tracks for a week’s worth of usage every year, it would seem that a more effective Park & Ride system with adequate buses in use could actually solve the problem.

It is always more fun for politicians to spend a lot of money on shiny new objects than to make the basics work a little better. Regardless, I hope Gov. Lujan-Grisham vetoes this unnecessary spending (contained in SB 280) on an even more wasteful project.

Image result for nm rail runnerImage result for balloon fiesta



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6 Replies to “Save the $7.5 million, here’s our analysis of the Rail Runner spur to Balloon Fiesta Park”

  1. A radical solution no one has considered: traffic cops. Last year my park & ride shuttle bus took twice as long to get to the park because it took two traffic-light cycles to get through every intersection.

    In grown-up cities, police personnel wave cars through traffic signals to speed access to special events and direct traffic around accidents. This is a foreign concept in Albuquerque, where every accident on the Interstate closes the entire highway for hours. I have never seen a police officer actually directing traffic in Albuquerque and suspect they do not know how.

    Instead of building more infrastructure, just hire some big-city professionals to teach APD how to manage traffic.

    1. Responding to Mr. McClure, for better or worse, NM has a law that when there is a traffic fatality, none of the vehicles involved in the accident may be moved until AFTER the office of medical examiner has arrived on scene and investigated. That can take some time.

  2. I also have a radical solution that many have called for. Sell the train and get rid of it all together. It has been a total waste of money and a big loser from the start. It stole $600 million in road funds and loses millions a year. It also costs me in my property taxes. I am proud to say I have never and never will ride that irresponsible waste of taxpayer money.

  3. Ha, thought I misread the first sentence–spend 7.5 million to study a project that might cost 8-11 million???? But no, Paul confirmed in the next sentence that I was not misreading. Who ever came up with this idea should definitely not be in government.

  4. When we have the type of people in office like we have now, and with a study that will be almost as much as the spur, we already know what the outcome of the study will be. They will approve the spur, nobody will use it (Just like the Chicken Train itself) and the cost of the spur will be at least twice what they promise. Then we will have to sit at train crossings to wait for empty cars to pass- just like the current situation with the Chicken Train. But you can bet that with democrats running this state for the forseeable future, projects like this, and their outrageously expensive studies will get rubber stamped.

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