Attorney Yolanda Gallegos, who represents ART opponents, called the ruling, 'Just horrible news.'
Federal Appeals Court Says ART Construction Can Begin
BY DENNIS DOMRZALSKI
Mayor Richard Berry on Friday pretty much won his battle to get his $119 million Albuquerque Rapid Transit Project built along Central Avenue when the U.S. Court of Appeals refused to halt work on the project while opponents appeal an earlier court’s ruling.
The appellate court also lifted an emergency ban on ART construction that was in place while it considered the opponents’ appeal.
In a four-page ruling, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals said that ART opponents had not demonstrated that federal court Judge Kenneth Gonzales and abused his discretion in denying them a preliminary injunction to stop ART. It also said that the plaintiffs had not persuaded them that They were entitled to an injunction pending the rest of the appeal.
And while the appeal could continue, the city has to go-ahead to begin construction as soon as it wants. The city was expected to sign a construction contract on Monday or Tuesday, according to its filings with the appellate court.
Attorney Yolanda Gallegos, who represents ART opponents, called the ruling, “Just horrible news.” She added that she believed that the Federal Transit Administration erred in giving the city a pass on having to do an environmental study on the effects that ART would have on the neighborhoods along Central.
“Nothing has gone the way it ought to have,” Gallegos said. She added that she did not know if ART opponents would continue with the appeal.
ART will create dedicated bus lanes down the middle of Central basically from Louisiana on the east to Coors on the west. The project’s opponents have argued that it will decimate small businesses along the route.
The city has said that it hopes ART will transform Central into a higher density corridor and that it will attract millennials and international shoppers to Central.
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