ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - Albuquerque voters could get a chance to approve funding for an overhaul of the Paseo del Norte-Interstate 25 interchange in November.
Tuesday, Albuquerque Mayor Richard J. Berry said he will push for voters to have a chance at approving up to $60 million in bond money.
City administration had planned on adding $50 million in city bond money to nearly $30 million in state money, $5 million in Bernalillo County bond funds and $10 million from a federal TIGER grant to pay for the $93 million project.
But Berry says the city was forced to withdraw its application for that federal grant after three city councilors voted against approving bond money without the voters having a say.
No matter what City Council decided, getting that $10 million awarded was a statistical long shot. Since the TIGER program started in 2009 there have been 3,348 applications for grants but only 172 projects chosen, a little more than a 5 percent success rate.
The city council's decision kills any opportunity to get that money this year, and the program may or may not be available next year as it requires Congress to renew funding for it ever year.
"The council could put on the ballot a measure to authorize up to $60 million, which would give us the full funding in place," said Berry. "Then between the time that we had to spend that $10 million and the project is finished we could go out and look for other opportunities."
The city administration is considering its options. According to Berry, asking voters for approval will delay the project at least six months.
The city had hoped to start construction during the summer of 2013. The $93 million portion of the Paseo del Norte overhaul is just a small part of the overall project. The Department of Transportation has estimated the complete project will cost at least $350 million.
Both city and county bond funding still require approval from voters. Last October, more than 60 percent of city voters turned down $25 million in bonds for the project. However that project was tied to voters approving a separate $25 million in bonds for a controversial sports complex.
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