At Monday night’s city council meeting, three councilors (Benton, O’Malley and Garduno) refused to vote for critical, time-sensitive bi-partisan effort funding for Paseo Del Norte and I-25 funding.
Albuquerque - At Monday night’s city council meeting, three councilors (Benton, O’Malley and Garduno) refused to vote for critical, time-sensitive bi-partisan effort funding for Paseo Del Norte and I-25 funding. Councilors Lewis, Winter, Sanchez, Jones, Cook and Harris all indicated that they supported the measure at the meeting. The $50 million dollars in funding requires seven votes from the City Council to authorize bonds for the project. The timing of the vote was critical because the City, on the same day, applied for $10 to $15 million dollars in federal funding through the TIGER IV grant process.
The federal funding in turn is contingent upon strong support by all stake holders, which, up until last night’s meeting was in place. The city council had previously supported the project on a unanimous vote during the recently completed legislative session. Additional support has already been put in place by the legislature and signed by the Governor ($30 million) and prior federal funding from Senator Bingaman ($20 million). The county commission and other regional partners have also supported the project.
"The city council had an important role to play last night on behalf of the 56 million drivers a year that are stuck in congestion morning, noon and night at Paseo Del Norte and I-25. Six councilors were willing to do their job, but three councilors chose instead to play politics with the funding and may have cost the taxpayers of Albuquerque $10 to $15 million dollars in the process." said Mayor Berry "I am confident that the project funding would pass on a referendum, however, by delaying the funding for the project, these three councilors have jeopardized the critical federal funding component and have potentially delayed the project and the jobs that it will create."
Mayor Berry has asked council President Jones to call for a special meeting next Monday night to re-address this issue with the goal of getting the seven votes necessary to get this funding in place. "I urge all citizens and commuters to contact these three councilors and voice your strong support for these Paseo bond authorizations" said Mayor Berry. The mayor will also set up a meeting this week so that each of the three councilors who blocked this critical funding can have their questions answered by the Mayor or city staff.
Citizens can contact the three City Councilors at 768.3100 to urge their support, or directly at the following numbers:
• Councilor Debbie O’Malley 768.3159 DOMalley@cabq.gov
• Councilor Rey Garduno 768.3152 firstname.lastname@example.org
• Councilor Isaac Benton 768.3186 email@example.com