ART opponents say they’ll keep fighting despite blow in court

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Opponents to the controversial Albuquerque Rapid Transit project were dealt a major blow in court Friday night. A judge ruled against their injunction to stop construction on the bus project. But the opposition says the fight is far from over.

The Albuquerque Rapid Transit project would bring dedicated bus lanes to central but the project has been met with intense scrutiny.

Concerns surrounding the impact on businesses and the cultural atmosphere of Route 66 led to opponents filing a pair of lawsuits, hoping to stop the construction scheduled to start this coming week. But after more than 20 hours of testimony, a judge ruled against an injunction that would halt the project.

“I’m happy for our city, I’m really happy for not just the hundreds and hundreds of jobs that will be created during construction, but really this opportunity for our community,” said Albuquerque Mayor Richard J. Berry.

“Of course you’re disappointed because we put on a very good case. We were very, very good, but you win some, you lose some, and it’s not over,” said ART Opponent Maria Bautista.

In his ruling the judge said that while he didn’t necessarily agree with ART, he didn’t feel like opponents proved that there would be irreparable harm or that the city or feds failed to live up to their obligations under the law. The city says they will move forward with construction but it’s unclear where they will start.

Despite that opponents say they’ll keep fighting and they believe appeals filed Saturday morning will have better luck.

“It appears that there are many interpretations of what the law is and we believe that some of those interpretations were not used,” said Steve Schroeder.

Opponents are also trying to get 14,000 signatures to get a measure aimed at blocking the project on the ballot. They have until the end of August to do that.

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