ALBUQUERQUE, NM (KRQE) – The city is now asking the state for millions to help ease traffic in northwest Albuquerque by expanding part of Paseo del Norte from two to four lanes.
Albuquerque City Councilor Cynthia Borrego on Wednesday told a legislative subcommittee this project is needed to support the growth on the west side.
“Emergency vehicles can’t even get around the traffic that’s standing still, so these rush hour delays are not only causing congestion problems but they’re causing public safety issues,” Borrego said.
Approximately $23 million would expand Paseo del Norte to two lanes in each direction for 1.4 miles leading up to Rainbow. A conceptual design shows it would include a bike lane on both sides and outer trails for pedestrians.
The subcommittee chair responded that Albuquerque could be in competition with southeast New Mexico for funding because that’s where the money from the oil and gas boom is coming from. Still, Borrego insists it would be better utilized in her district, where many people from that part of the state move for school or work.
“We shouldn’t consider this ‘competition, we should consider it a growing metropolis that will offer benefits to their kids and their grandkids,” Borrego added.
Just this week, Borrego also upped the project cost estimate by $2 million, she says, to make up for inflation and to help acquire the right-of-way land.
The city said another option to help pay for this project is Albuquerque’s quarter-cent gross receipts tax, which goes to transportation projects. That tax is up for renewal this year.
If the city gets the state funding, officials said crews can break ground by spring 2021 and have it finished by the middle of the following year.