The Secret Worldwide Transit Cabal

Informed but opinionated commentary and analysis on urban transportation topics from the Secret Worldwide Transit Cabal. Names have been omitted to protect the guilty.

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Monday, April 28, 2003

Things are Getting Hot in Albuquerque

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"Truth passes through three phases: 1) It is ridiculed. 2) It is violently opposed. 3) It is accepted as self-evident." Albert Schopenhouer. In the United States, rail is currently passing through Phase Two.

From the Cabalmaster:

One of the latest cities to announce plans for light rail transit is Albuquerque, New Mexico. In February 2003, Mayor Martin Chavez announced that construction would begin on the first phase in 2006, the 300th anniversary of the city's founding. This is to link Coronado Mall with the downtown Alvarado Transportation Center. The second phase, to be started as early as 2008, will link the airport ("Albuquerque International Sunport") with Albuquerque's West Side. Both lines will operate along Central Avenue. Estimated total cost: $700 million, with 50 percent paid by the Fedeeral Transit Administration. However, the local share has not been secured. Chavez mooted plans for a revenue stream, such as a three-cent per gallon gasoline tax, to back a bond issue. Bus improvements (a "rapid transit bus system") are to be implemented from 2004.

The first line, dubbed the "Red Chile Line," is estimated to cost $400 million. It would extend from Coors Boulevard on the West Side to Louisiana Boulevard in Northeast Heights along Central Avenue. It would "probably" include an extension northward along Louisiana Blvd to the Uptown-area shopping malls and businesses.

The second line, estimated to cost $200 million, is dubbed the "Green Chile Line," and would be built mostly on railroad rights of way. It would serve the airport, museums, Old Town and other attractions.

The state legislature is considering two measures to raise the local share. One is a surcharge on motor vehicle registrations within the city; the other is the gas-tax increase. Both would raise about $8.5 million per year. Meanwhile, by April 2004, the Albuquerque Transit Department will begin "super express" bus servcie along the route of the Red Chile Line along Central Avenue. Stops would be spaced about one mile apart.

(An FOC notes, contrary to the information found in the above article, the Los Angeles Metro Rapid bus services do not use articulated buses, nor does Austin. The Texas capital also does not have traffic signal priority for buses.)

The Albuquerque Rapid Transit Project website is

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