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West Side initiatives get advocate

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Albuquerque City Councilor Dan Lewis — just elected president — says he will push a variety of economic-development initiatives intended to create jobs on the West Side and elsewhere.

He plans to introduce a resolution this month designating Paseo del Volcan as a priority project for future bond cycles and other funding sources. The freeway, partially built already, would help connect Interstate 40 to Interstate 25, through U.S. 550.

Its completion would help provide infrastructure for large employers who want to bring jobs to the West Side and also ease truck traffic on corridors inside the city, Lewis said. The project will take regional cooperation, he said.

“What I want to do is put it on the front burner,” he said. “There are obvious regional benefits.”

Furthermore, he will seek approval to make economic development a part of the agenda for every council meeting. At some meetings, the city’s Economic Development Department would make a presentation and, at others, private business groups would do so.

“If we’re going to talk about anything else, it’ll be about bringing jobs to the city,” Lewis said.

Lewis is also among three councilors who are sponsoring plans to create a new Economic Development Action Account. Mayor Richard Berry supports the effort, and Lewis, Trudy Jones and Rey Garduño are sponsoring the legislation.

The fund would help pay for expanded marketing of the city as a good location for businesses, workforce training and similar efforts.

Lewis’ district covers the northern part of Albuquerque’s West Side.

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