The Albuquerque Journal reported on its front page that City Councilor Issac Benton, a strong ART Bus project supporter, recently used $20,000 of his City Council $1 million in “set-aside” money to purchase at auction what he hopes could be a solution to a burgeoning public bathroom shortage in Albuquerque.
Benton had the city purchase a slightly used “Portland Loo” which is a one-stall, stainless steel, stand-alone restroom that sells for around $100,000 new.
Benton claims the steel toilet is “almost indestructible.”
On February 5, 2016, it was reported that an identical “Portland Loo” was yanked out of the ground in San Diego because it was a magnet for crime and it was one of the more notorious financial boondoggles in San Diego history.
In addition to a 130 percent increase in police calls to the area around the restroom, it was reported maintenance and repair costs were more than double initial estimates.
The steel toilet stall, which operated for 13 months at 14th and L streets in San Diego, was moved to the San Diego storage yard and city officials said there were no plans to re-install it anywhere.
ART BUS PROBLEMS
It is also being reported that even more problems have been identified with the ART buses that are being purchased by the city for $25 million, including at least one of the new buses not built on a chassis that was not ordered and is not up to standard.
The manufacturer is arguing that some of the bus damage could have happened while the buses were being driven across the southwest.
A spokesman for the manufacturer said:
“In transit, you’re going to have to remember that the buses when they’re coming from California to Albuquerque, they’re going to be run on a speed limit higher than they’re going to be run on the route itself.”
If that was the case, why weren’t the buses transferred by rail road or other means to ensure that no damage occurred?
Other problems include that 15 other buses have concerns like battery cabinet cracks and cosmetic issues that have yet to be resolved.
Nearly six months past the October 2017 delivery deadline, the buses for the Albuquerque Rapid Transit project still aren’t ready.
When the City is left with 20 unusable buses, perhaps Benton will make sure the busses are converted into toilets with multiple stalls and mounted on the ART Bus platforms that will not be used.
This is the first time I have seen Councilor Isaac Benton actually give a “s…” about anything.