ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Voters will decide Tuesday if they’ll renew a tax that pays for nearly half of the city’s yearly road projects, but also provides critical funding for off-street bike and pedestrian trails.
Representing a quarter of one-cent of gross receipts taxes in Albuquerque, the Transportation Tax generations about $19 million of funding for road projects each year and about $1 to $1.5 million for “trails and bikeways.”
Albuquerque Parks and Recreation Director Dave Simon says that cash represents a major portion of the dedicated funds set-aside for trails.
“There’s just no two ways about it, the funding from the transportation tax is absolutely critical to maintenance of our trail system here in the city,” said Simon.
The Transportation Tax has been in place since 2000. This year’s vote is required, as the original tax had a “sunset” provision of 2019, meaning the tax will expire at the end of the calendar year.
“I’m optimistic that people want to see these benefits continue,” said Simon, referring to the city’s work on bike trails.
Today, Albuquerque has around 158 miles of off-street trails woven through the city. The most popular trail is the river-side Paseo del Bosque trail, which sees about a quarter-million riders each year.
“Everybody from dog walkers to really elite athletes use these trails,” said Simon.
If the quarter-cent transportation tax gets renewed, the city says the North Diversion Channel trail may the next up for a smoother ride.
“The North Diversion Channel trail, that one’s probably going to need a resurfacing soon,” said Simon.
The city is also eyeing Second Street for the next major trail project, which could be an extension of the Alameda Drain Trail from Montano south toward Downtown Albuquerque.
“Our Alameda drain trail actually runs past five schools, so it will be a wonderful, safe way for children to get to school on their bicycles,” said Simon.
The city’s also looking at building some new off-street trails in the Ventana Ranch area, as well as along Copper Street near Wyoming. Another idea under consideration is making a better link from the north diversion channel directly into Balloon Fiesta Park.