ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) - With three holdout councilors holding fast to their demand for a public vote, Mayor R.J. Berry failed to get the super majority he needed to fast track the $50-million Paseo, I-25 Interchange bond.
A week's worth of back and forth between Mayor Berry and City Councilor’s Debbie O’Malley, Isaac Benton and Rey Garduno came down to a special meeting.
The council had to vote up or down on bypassing the voters and authorizing a $50-million bond to start the Paseo, I-25 interchange makeover.
First the public weighed in but only about two dozen people took the podium, most in support of fast tracking the $50 million.
Then after lengthy discussion by the council and some back and forth with city administrators it was time to vote.
No surprise councilors O’Malley, Benton and Garduno stuck to their guns, voting no.
All three said they want to see the project move forward if that is what the voters want.
“We didn’t kill this project, that was never our intent, and we didn’t do it, this says the project will move forward but its going to be done in a deliberate way with the support of the voters,” said Councilor O’Malley.
Councilor Benton echoed that sentiment telling News 13, “It will go to the voters and my expectation is it will pass and that will give us time to do it right".
However, Mayor Berry and his executive staff said Monday night’s vote will not only delay construction and drive up the cost of the Paseo project, it also means the city will lose out on millions of dollars in federal funds.
“At the end of the day you’re either for Paseo or you’re against it, these councilors showed that they’re against it and they’re going to stick the voters of Albuquerque for another 10 million dollars in price tag,” Chief Administrative Officer Rob Perry said.
Something all sides seem to agree on is that the Paseo project will get done its just a matter of when.
The city does not know yet if a special election will be held, or if the bond will go on the November ballot.
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