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City Hall

News and notes from City Hall, Bernalillo County and local politics

City Hall Affirms $50M Paseo Contribution

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Albuquerque’s plan to contribute $50 million toward rebuilding the Paseo del Norte interchange now has bipartisan support.

The City Council voted without opposition late Monday to reserve about $3 million that would be used to start making annual payments on $50 million in bonds for the project. The council had earlier set aside the money — on party-line votes — but hadn’t made it clear whether the city would support the full $50 million or a smaller amount.

Democrats had opposed the earlier legislation, raising questions over whether it would be enough to get the project done, among other reservations.

But Monday’s resolution was sponsored jointly by Democrat Ken Sanchez and Republicans Dan Lewis and Brad Winter.

The council adopted the measure on an 8-0 vote, with only Democrat Debbie O’Malley absent.

“This corridor is vitally important for the entire region,” Sanchez said.

About $93 million is needed for the first phase of improvements planned to the Interstate 25 and Paseo interchange. In addition to the city’s $50 million, the state Legislature is considering whether to chip in with $30 million.

“We hope the state sees we’re very serious about this project,” Winter said.

Bernalillo County commissioners have indicated they will propose about $5 million in funding for the project. The remaining $8 million could come from federal transit grants, said Mayor Richard Berry, who has made the interchange a priority.

“This is bipartisan legislation,” Berry said. “We’re all in on this project.”

The city’s earlier legislation, approved over the objection of council Democrats, said Albuquerque would provide $25 million to $50 million in funding for Paseo, contingent on matching funds from the state. The latest legislation makes it clear the city can provide the whole $50 million, even if the state supports only $30 million.

“We’re very close to getting it done,” Lewis said.

In other action, city councilors sound ready to change Albuquerque’s police-oversight system.

That much was clear from their discussion late Monday. The specifics, however, aren’t so obvious.

Mayor Richard Berry has proposed 17 recommendations aimed at improving the training of Police Oversight Commission members and ensuring they attend meetings, among other changes.

But some councilors indicate that they want to do more.

“There needs to be a complete overhaul,” Lewis said.

Sanchez said the police-oversight “system is flawed” and needs to be changed quickly.

It’s not clear when the council will consider a specific proposal on the issue.

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