Mayor dubs the ART 'Project Lemonade'

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) - A long list of problems continues to push back the start date for the Albuquerque Rapid Transit bus system. 

Tuesday, Mayor Tim Keller laid out the problems still facing that controversial bus system. 

The ART was supposed to be up and running in December. Some of the buses still aren't here. Others, are going back to their maker. 

With construction, funding and bus issues to be worked out before the ART can start rolling, Mayor Tim Keller is now playing off his comment back in January when he called the project a lemon. 

Keller now plans to host briefings on the project every four to six weeks. This time, detailing what he calls the good, the bad and the ugly, but the only positive he listed is what has been done locally on the construction side. 

"We have work being done on the Yucca stop to fix significant structural engineering issues there. And, work is complete at the Washington stop," he said. 

As for paying for the project, the federal funds were never a guarantee -- with the city now fronting $95 million for ART. 

Of course, one of the most drawn-out problems are the buses. 

"The cracks that are appearing in these buses that you can see right here. These are brand new buses. There should be no cracks in the frames," Keller said. 

Seven of the newly delivered buses from BYD are about to be sent back because of quality control issues. 

"Cracks of the rear portion have developed on seven of the 10 buses, the radio systems have been delivered in pieces," CABQ Chief Operating Officer Lawrence Rael said. 

Plus, there are axle problems, leaking and the buses aren't running on the promised mileage per charge. 

The Keller administration is still looking at its options within the BYD contract. 

"There's a lot of ideas we're thinking through in terms of types of buses, different delivery dates and other options for suppliers," Keller said. 

In the next couple of months, the Keller administration hopes to work with BYD to figure out a service start date. 

Right now, the Mayor is sticking with "sometime this year." 

As for the construction, everything will be finished within the next few months. 

BYD planned to deliver the last four buses this week, but the city won't accept them until the issues with the buses it already has are resolved. 

The city still hasn't paid the $23 million for the 20 buses. 



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