Court denies motion to halt ART construction

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The U.S. Court of Appeals has denied a motion to halt Albuquerque Rapid Transit construction.

Opponents of the controversial project filed an emergency motion Friday to reinstate the injunction pending a decision by an Appeals Court. The group says the construction which started a week ago has proved to trigger intense traffic congestion along the Central corridor.

Crews have been tearing up medians along Central for nearly two weeks for the project.

A reason for denying the motion was not given. In court documents, it says a panel of judges denied the motion.

The city said the ruling won’t change how it will move forward.

“When the construction started last week, I know there’s been concern about the project from citizens, all along Central and through our community and we’re still considerate of that,โ€ said Michael Riordan with the City of Albuquerque.

A federal judge already signed off on moving forward with the $119 million project back in July. This was after opponents sued, claiming it was a half-baked plan that oversold how popular it was, and undersold how damaging it would be to businesses and traffic.

In this latest attempt for an emergency injunction, they claim the construction has already caused a traffic nightmare and hurt businesses. Also, they argue county voters will weigh in on Election Day if the ART plan should be put on a future ballot.

Opponents wanted the federal judge to stop construction until there’s a ruling on their appeal, however, they were rejected.

โ€œWe’re excited about this project. We believe there’s strong community support for the project, and we’re happy to continue to be able to work on it,โ€ said Riordan.

The city is using its own money right now on the construction and waiting for the federal funds to be finalized.

That appeal will be heard in Denver on November 14. It could take days, weeks or even months for a ruling. By then, the city could be tens of millions of dollars into the construction and Central could be torn up for miles.

The city hopes to have the bus up and running in its dedicated lanes a year from now.


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