Bernalillo County narrowly agreed to place a nonbinding vote on the November ballot, asking voters whether the controversial Albuquerque Rapid Transit project should be placed on another future ballot.
The Albuquerque Journal reported county commissioners voted 3-2 along party lines — with Democrats in the majority — on the resolution Tuesday.
Regardless of the Election Day outcome, the county has no authority to stop the ART project, nor can it alter its construction timetable or design.
The ballot will read: “Are you in favor of giving voters residing in the city of Albuquerque municipal limits the chance to vote in support of or opposition to the proposed Albuquerque Rapid Transit project?”
Republican Mayor Richard Berry shepherded the ART project, which he said would attract high-tech employers and millennial residents. The city council approved it on a 7-2 bipartisan vote. Opponents — many of them businesses along Central Avenue, aka Route 66 — say the construction and reduction in vehicular traffic will decimate their revenue.
After ART survived a federal lawsuit earlier this summer — the decision is on appeal — construction is set to begin Sept. 3. ART would dedicate two lanes along nine miles of Central Avenue (aka Route 66) for buses and transfer stations.
The Journal’s editorial board two days later called the move by Bernalillo County “political pandering,” which is hard to refute.
(Artist’s rendering of an Albuquerque Rapid Transit station)