ART Bus Project Funding Still In Doubt

This is a story that appeared in Vol. 10, Issue 5, February 8 to 14, Albuquerque Free Press and written by the ABQ FREE PRESS WEEKLY STAFF:


“The City of Albuquerque could soon be facing a cash crunch when it comes to Mayor Richard Berry’s Albuquerque Rapid Transit project. With ART now 20 percent complete, the city has paid, or committed to pay, $35.8 million for construction and electric buses. That represents 63 percent of the $57.2 million in local money and previous federal grants that the city has on hand and has committed to spend on ART. The larger problem is that the $69 million Federal Transit Administration grant the city is counting on to complete ART still has not been approved by the FTA or been appropriated by Congress. Congress isn’t expected to even consider a budget until late March or early April. The cost of ART, when adjusted for inflation, is $126.2 million. Of that, $69 million, or 55 percent, is supposed to come from the FTA. The rest — $57.2 million, or 45 percent — is coming from previous federal grants and local funds. The $23 million in buses the city has ordered is supposed to come out of the FTA grant that neither Congress nor the FTA has yet approved. If the city doesn’t get its federal money, it might have to junk the bus order, scale back construction, or find the money elsewhere. It’s possible the city will get some FTA money. But remember that last year, the appropriations committees in both the U.S. House and U.S. Senate recommended cutting the FTA grant program by anywhere from $19 million to $23 million. So far, the city has paid $12.8 million to Bradbury Stamm Construction, the project’s main contractor, and has committed to pay $23 million for 18 buses it has ordered.”

Albqueruqe Free Press Staff

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Pete Dinelli was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is of Italian and Hispanic descent. He is a 1970 graduate of Del Norte High School, a 1974 graduate of Eastern New Mexico University with a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration and a 1977 graduate of St. Mary's School of Law, San Antonio, Texas. Pete has a 40 year history of community involvement and service as an elected and appointed official and as a practicing attorney in Albuquerque. Pete and his wife Betty Case Dinelli have been married since 1984 and they have two adult sons, Mark, who is an attorney and George, who is an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). Pete has been a licensed New Mexico attorney since 1978. Pete has over 27 years of municipal and state government service. Pete’s service to Albuquerque has been extensive. He has been an elected Albuquerque City Councilor, serving as Vice President. He has served as a Worker’s Compensation Judge with Statewide jurisdiction. Pete has been a prosecutor for 15 years and has served as a Bernalillo County Chief Deputy District Attorney, as an Assistant Attorney General and Assistant District Attorney and as a Deputy City Attorney. For eight years, Pete was employed with the City of Albuquerque both as a Deputy City Attorney and Chief Public Safety Officer overseeing the city departments of police, fire, 911 emergency call center and the emergency operations center. While with the City of Albuquerque Legal Department, Pete served as Director of the Safe City Strike Force and Interim Director of the 911 Emergency Operations Center. Pete’s community involvement includes being a past President of the Albuquerque Kiwanis Club, past President of the Our Lady of Fatima School Board, and Board of Directors of the Albuquerque Museum Foundation.