The inaptly named Paseo del Volcan project is all set to dole-out $8 million public dollars to big private landowners and that’s just the start. Rest uneasy, the total cost of the project is estimated at $70 million, not including another $8 million needed for more right of way before that starts.
Proponents are not dissuaded and have attempted to put road corridor money on level funding ground with projects that have been on the local road plans for decades. (Here's that rabbit hole: MRCOG MTP) Normalizing the project by comparing it to other interchange projects is also highly popular but misleading. It was compared to Rio Bravo and I-25 where new jobs are anticipated. "It works!," someone in the hearing trumpeted, for goodness sake.*
Tom Church, Secretary of Department Transportation, told a New Mexico Senate committee about the Volcan project this week. He said there’s $2.5 million in “regular” STP dollars plus an “old federal earmark” of $4 million set to expire that was obligated for Atrisco Vista. That's the road that used to be called Paseo del Volcan. We are left to assume that Atrisco Vista is now fully built and perfect.
Remember when Marty Chavez was Mayor of Albuquerque and there was much fuss and rush over economic development at the Double Eagle Airport? It is located on this road now called Atrisco Vista. Public funding was critical now for this forward thinking project that would bring orderly development. So we paid for water and sewer and storm drains so that Eclipse Aviation could move out there. Land use policies were tossed out the window. A certain county commissioner flipped some mattress land.
I’d love to see the estimated public dollars that went into all that. And how'd that work out? Might that experience inform this request?
Ho Hum. Different project. Doesn’t matter. The guys that want this don’t own that.
*Land in the vicinity of Rio Bravo has rail access, airport access, freeway access and access to an existing labor force. It has been zoned for manufacturing since the county had a code.