Bernalillo County residents want chance to vote on ART

Albuquerque Rapid Transit
Albuquerque Rapid Transit

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The people have spoken and more than 75 percent of voters want the chance to vote on allowing the Albuquerque Rapid Transit project. But just because most people want the chance to vote on the controversial ART project, doesn’t mean they’ll get to.

KRQE News 13 asked the city what they would do if this happened. Their response? Nothing. The mayor’s office said the question put on the ballot by the Bernalillo County Commission left them scratching their heads because construction has already started across Central and this is more of a poll question.

Some city councilors said they would not put it on the next ballot because construction would be done by then.

KRQE News 13 asked the lawyer representing an ART opposition group about this vote, he says his clients will keep on fighting to stop the project no matter what.

“They’re hoping that the city administration will see that they’re moving forward with this project without truly engaging the people of Albuquerque in a real discussion about what we want our community to look like,” John McCall, attorney for the ART opposition group.

The other way to get the ART project on the ballot next October would be a petition by the people — meaning about 15,000 signatures in 60 days.

If that happens, the city says they’ll deal with it then.

On Wednesday, Mayor Berry issued the following statement:

I completely understand that in a time of construction disruption and controversy that many people have strong feelings about the project. In 2014 and 2015, with ART in the headlines, I commissioned scientific polls asking voters if bus rapid transit should be a priority and the response was a resounding yes.  With contracts and federal commitments in place, and construction activities in full swing, it does not make sense to do anything but move forward with this transformational opportunity for the future of our city.

Most of the people at the polls Tuesday said they did vote “yes” because they just want to be heard.

ART construction is expected to be completed in October 2017.

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