ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – It was a blow for those against Albuquerque Rapid Transit as the city got the green light to start digging up Central.
The order came down Friday night from a panel of federal appeals court judges, saying they will not put a stop to construction for the ART bus project.
The city is happy with the court order while those against ART say that the fight is far from over.
“It’s really just a bump in the road,” said Dough Peterson, an ART opponent. “Getting an injunction is a tall order but it does not end our appeal.”
Plaintiffs are questioning the Federal Transit Administration’s decision to approve the project for federal funding, saying the city wasn’t required to thoroughly look at the impact of construction or consider enough public input.
They’re asking federal appeals court judges to decide.
Plus, to halt construction in the meantime, plaintiffs needed to show they’re likely to win the appeal, that construction would cause “irreparable harm,” harm that outweighs any harm to the city and that it’s in the public interest.
However, the court found plaintiffs were not entitled to an injunction, which is good news for the City.
“It’s obviously very encouraging,” said Michael Riordan, the chief operations officer for the City. “We still have a lot of work to do in the community, so we’re going to keep doing that but we think through the court system, we’re at a very good spot where they’re allowing us to start construction.”
The City says full-blown construction should start in a few weeks.
Friday’s court order also noted that judges will be sure to make a quick decision on the appeal.
On top of efforts to fight the project in court, ART opponents point out the FTA has been in the process of re-evaluating its decision to make sure the city met all the requirements before it was granted federal funding.