City denies claim it’s depriving Central trees of water

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – On Sunday afternoon, Project Aquarius was in full swing.

A caravan of cars made their way from Coors and Central headed east, stopping to fill up buckets and jugs and water trees in the median as they went.

They told anyone who was curious as to why they would be doing this, it all had to do with the controversial Albuquerque Rapid Transit project.

“We’re doing this because the city apparently is turning off the water to them,” said Steve Schroeder, an ART opponent.

Hundreds of trees are set to be removed and replaced to make way for the bus line. The medians themselves are being taken out in many spots to make way for dedicated bus lanes set to run down the middle of Central.

ART opponents claim the city is no longer watering the trees in those medians because they’re set to be removed anyway.

“So they don’t need the trees anymore so they’re not going to water them,” said Schroeder.

But the city’s Solid Waste Department, which maintains those medians, say those claims are simply false.

“I really don’t know where they got that from,” said John Soladay, head of the department. “They’re being watered. All of the irrigation system along there is all functional, fully up and operating.”

“What they’re doing isn’t necessary.”

Groups opposing ART are suing in federal court to halt the project. A judge is expected to make a ruling next month before construction begins in late July.

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