Work could begin soon on a new transit center designed to accommodate the extensive Albuquerque Rapid Transit project.
Additional construction may see the building of battery charging stations at various points along the ART route on Central Avenue.
The overall 8.8-mile ART route runs from Tramway Boulevard in the east to the Atrisco Vista Road in the west.
Money for the projects is coming from the Federal Transit Authority, which has just announced that it is awarding the City of Albuquerque some $75 million in grants for the construction of the ART project.
The funding will come in two increments, with the first $50 million to be officially awarded by the end of next month, and the remaining $25 million coming sometime in October.
That money is specifically being drawn out of the FTA’s Small Starts Program, which is designed to provide funding for light, heavy, and commuter rail, as well as streetcar and bus rapid transit projects across the country.
The Small Starts money reimburses the City of Albuquerque for the construction costs it has so far absorbed for the project.
That money comes on the heels of a $14 million federal grant awarded to Albuquerque earlier this summer for Central Avenue roadwork connected to the project.
Work on the ART project was launched in late 2016 with partial operations beginning a year later.
The project has seen the creation of a rapid transit corridor down Central Avenue, featuring stations and bus-only lanes, and creating the first all-electric bus rapid transit system in the country.
The FTA announcement won the praise of Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller who said the federal money will lessen the “burden of having to cover the cost of the project with city funds or new tax dollars.”
By Garry Boulard
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