Congress’ decision to not consider outgoing President Obama’s budget jeopardizes the bulk of the ART Bus Projects funding and places the entire project at serious risk. The letter of commitment from the Federal Transportation Administration (FTA) for the ART Bus Project the City was given is not worth the paper it was written on and nothing more than a promise. In 2017, the City of Albuquerque will not be getting a nickel from the FTA, even though construction of the ART bus project is scheduled to be completed by September of 2017. Mayor Berry and the City Council have gambled with taxpayer’s money on getting a $69 million dollar federal grant that is now in total jeopardy. They were repeatedly warned, but no, they wanted to cram the project down taxpayer’s throats without a public vote.
Where is the money going to come from to pay the general contractor once work is completed September of next year? Mayor Berry should order an immediate cessation of the project until they have a definitive statement whether or not the grant money will ever be received by the City. But no, the Albuquerque City Council voted to go ahead and spend the grant money we may never get. What this means is, taxpayers will wind up footing the entire bill for Berry’s Boondoggle ART Bus Project. Berry and the City Council are going to end up with at least a $69 million dollar bill they do not have the money pay for it. The Mayor and City Council will be force to take money out of the general fund, cut essential services or even raise taxes, all for a poorly designed bus route that is destroying historical Route 66.
There is a municipal election next year in October, and all the City Councilors running for re-election and candidates for Mayor who support ART need to be held accountable.