City responds to court order halting ART construction

The city worries the halt will cost the project more money

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The city says the controversial Albuquerque Rapid Transit project needs to get moving. They say the order to stop work on the project should be lifted while a federal appeal is being reviewed.

If it isn’t, officials say it could cost a lot of money and they want the plaintiffs in the case to put up a security deposit.

The city spent most of the day working on its response to a Federal Appeals Court temporary order to stop work on the ART project.

“All that we hope for is that the Court of Appeals would move very quickly to resolve this issue so that we can move forward without […] without further delay,” said Jessica Hernandez, City of Albuquerque Attorney.

The city wants to get started on the ART project after a federal judge gave the Albuquerque the okay to start construction late last week. But opponents appealed that decision to the Court of Appeals in Denver which ordered to halt all work while the appeal runs its process.

In part of the city’s response, they are asking for the opponent to pay damages, should the court agree to hear the appeal.

That adds up to $1.35 million.

But opponents said the appeal is necessary.

“When you have a situation like this, where a project is about to start and you think you have some serious legal issues, if a Court of Appeals doesn’t step in like this then basically the case is over,” said John Boyd, attorney for ART opponents.

The city also filed an emergency motion to get pre-construction work going, saying the temporary injunction has caused an emergency for the city.

The motion says if they are unable to give the go-ahead for pre-construction work by Tuesday, their bid with the subcontractor could no longer be binding. Also, if they have to re-bid those prices are likely to increase.

In both responses, the city says the pre-construction work is non-destructive and could be done while the appeal is reviewed.

So how did the city get to the $1.35 million? That is the total amount of how much the daily construction cost is for 180 days. The city says that daily amount is $7,500 a day.

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