Albuquerque weighs BRT vs. light rail

Posted on April 10, 2003

Some type of rapid transit system will be constructed in Albuquerque beginning in 2006, but it has yet to be determined whether the city will build light rail or bus rapid transit. A high-capacity transit system will be built to carry people from the densely populated West Side, through the newly revitalized downtown and to the Uptown shopping district. Such a system would make Albuquerque competitive with other major Southwestern cities and strengthen the city's community, said Mayor Martin Chavez. Federal funding and city matching funds will pay for the $350 million to $400 million proposed project. The city is still discussing how it will come up with its 50% share of the cost. Under consideration are a vehicle registration fee, a three-cents-a-gallon gas tax and revenue bonds. One potential alignment for the first phase of the project, called the Red Chile Line, is an 11-mile route connecting the city along Central Avenue with passenger stations located at intervals of one-half to one mile. A potential second phase of the project, the Green Chile Line, would link the city's cultural attractions and make use of existing railroad rights-of-way that loop around the city. In the interim, super express buses will be operating along the future route of the Red Chile Line by next April. Buses will stop about every mile rather than every few blocks and will use articulated buses and transit signal priority.

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