'The people who live and work along this corridor and will be impacted most by the project were not adequately consulted during the design process' - Councilor Dan Lewis
City Councilor Wants Third-party Evaluation
Move Comes After Trump Reveals ART Isn’t in His Proposed Budget
City Councilor Dan Lewis says he will introduce a resolution on Monday that would revert Central Avenue to four lanes of auto traffic if the Albuquerque Rapid Transit project creates more traffic congestion and has an adverse impact on businesses along the nine-mile route.
The resolution calls for a third-party evaluation of ART’s impacts once it is completed and in operation. The measure calls for an evaluation of traffic volume on Central and residential streets along the ART route, ART ridership, pedestrian traffic on Central, truck traffic on residential streets, and the impact the project has on businesses.
The studies would begin after ART has been operational for 60 days and would compare its impact to pre-project conditions.
Lewis said that the narrowing of Central Avenue to two lanes during ART construction has significantly increased traffic congestion, vehicle noise and exhaust, and that those conditions will become permanent in some of the most congested parts of the City once the project is completed.
“The people who live and work along this corridor and will be impacted most by the project were not adequately consulted during the design process,” Lewis said. “We need to make sure that people are protected and that the project will perform as promised. And if it doesn’t, we need to have a way to fix it.”
Lewis voted against the ART project.
The $126 million ART project is expected to be completed by later this year.
But the project is currently facing a $69 million deficit because the Federal Transit Administration has yet to approve the Small Starts grant that the city is relying on to complete ART. And, the Trump administration’s proposed federal budget for fiscal year 2018 doesn’t include any money for ART.
The FTA did recommend that ART be funded at $69 million for the current fiscal year, but Congress has yet to approve that budget. And, last year, the appropriations committees of both the U.S. House and Senate recommended cuts in the FTA programs that would fund ART.
Mayor Richard Berry has said that he’s confident that Congress will pass a budget for this year and that it will fully fund ART.