Our view: Completion of PdV needs to be priority

RIO RANCHO, N.M. — For years the Observer has been aware of the City of Rio Rancho’s and Sandoval County’s efforts — or at some points, the lack thereof — to finish Paseo del Volcan.

We know a lot of needs clamor for priority status, and it’s never easy to choose among them. However, we believe now is time to listen to the economic-development experts and make PdV a priority.

Many people have weighed in on this road’s significance to our economic future. Yet, after nearly 33 years in discussion and three significant land donations in Bernalillo County, PdV is still little more than a catch phrase and a few disjointed miles of pavement.

The Observer is aware of the momentum PdV has received recently and applauds the bipartisan efforts of our state representatives and local officials who have pushed this road forward. However, it is downright depressing to talk about the tiny completed portions of this road, only to look into the horizon and see so much undeveloped sand.

Part of the problem is regionalism that has kept many projects like PdV from completion. Instead of working together with the statewide good in mind, each county and politician seems to be vying for its district without regard to what benefits the state as a whole.

Because of its population, Albuquerque ends up with the most representatives and thus the most money, even if that money could be better spent elsewhere.

The economic development PdV could attract would bring jobs and revenue — and thus pay for services — for the whole state, not Rio Rancho or Sandoval County alone.

As long as we allow elected officials to look at the small picture of only taking care of their backyards, the entire neighborhood will suffer. When we break down these barriers and work together, we can complete projects such as PdV.

To make matters worse, state regulations prohibit companies like PNM from placing infrastructure on spec in areas zoned for manufacturing. Although PdV doesn’t need utilities, the businesses that could locate on both sides of it will.

When Sandoval Economic Alliance CEO Steve Jenkins brought in the nation’s top site-selector, Mark Sweeney, last year, Sweeney indicated that without bold moves like placing available infrastructure in certain areas, our county and city would be left in the dust.

The tipping point is now. It’s time for our community to step outside of its comfort zone and get real. We have to attract new industry or the costs to maintain our governmental services and quality of life will devour of us.

We know some people are concerned about the safety of PdV becoming busier as it runs near City Center and Cleveland High School. Lower speed limits, good street design and maybe service roads that allow slower-moving cars to avoid the heavier traffic should help mitigate any increased risk.

It is time to get real and work together across party lines and governmental boundaries to finish what could be a major economic boost for the city, county, metro area and state.