Unfinished projects to get millions in federal aid - Albuquerque Journal

Unfinished projects to get millions in federal aid

Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal

Bernalillo County plans to spend more than half of its $131.9 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds on water, sewer and broadband projects in underserved communities.

The County Commission voted 4-0 Tuesday to direct $74.6 million of the federal pandemic relief money to infrastructure. Commissioner Debbie O’Malley was not present.

The allocation includes nearly $54 million for seven projects led by the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority.

Liz Anderson, the utility’s chief planning officer, said the “meaningful and thoughtful” use of federal funds will move several long-awaited projects to the finish line.

“This will help make sure everybody has a resilient water supply,” Anderson said. “It’s also a significant … investment to maintain and rehab our system.”

An $8 million appropriation will complete the final phases of a South Valley drinking water project that will bring service to several neighborhoods west of Coors Boulevard.

Carnuel, a small East Mountains community, will receive $3.8 million for wastewater collection. “It will be really great to get a lot of people off that septic system,” Anderson said.

Other water authority projects include:

• $15 million to repair water and sewer lines that run through Kirtland Air Force Base

• $15 million for an arsenic treatment plant

• $4.9 million to boost water pressure at Mesa del Sol athletic fields

• $4.2 million for Metropolitan Detention Center sewer system updates

• $2.8 million for a wastewater treatment plant for Albuquerque’s West Side

Most of the water authority projects have been funded in phases by annual allocations from state capital outlay or federal grants.

“It’s important to note that what will come out of this (ARPA) is complete construction projects,” Anderson said.

Congress passed the $1.9 trillion stimulus package in March.

Commissioner Steven Michael Quezada, whose district includes the far South Valley and portions of Downtown, said the funds will “make a huge impact” on local clean drinking water and water conservation.

“We all drive by the Rio Grande now, and look, we have to be realistic about who’s responsible for water, and that’s all of us,” Quezada said.

The commission approved $10.8 million for county-led water and sewer projects.

ARPA funds will help build and improve water and wastewater systems at the South Valley Community Commons, a mixed-use development space at Kirtland, and an arroyo just south of Sandia Pueblo.

Broadband projects will receive $10 million under the county’s ARPA spending plan. The federal money will fund fiber and broadband expansion in the East Mountains and on Albuquerque’s far West Side along the Atrisco Vista Boulevard corridor.

In addition to infrastructure, the county’s ARPA spending plan includes:

• $4.5 million for young adult substance abuse programs and adult behavioral health services

• $7.6 million for the South Valley Economic Development Center, Mesa Del Sol Athletic Fields, Sawmill Center for the Arts, court competency evaluations, a temporary county court facility, rideshare infrastructure and felony pretrial supervision

• $9.5 million for housing initiatives

• $10 million for premium pay for essential county employees

• $18 million for revenue replacement

The county received the first half of the federal money in May 2021. The U.S. Treasury Department will deliver the second allocation in May 2022.

Theresa Davis is a Report for America corps member covering water and the environment for the Albuquerque Journal.

 


Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

Nativo Sponsored Content

taboola desktop

MORE ARTICLES LIKE THIS

1
New Mexico educators rally amid growing teacher shortage
ABQnews Seeker
Educators on Sunday called on state ... Educators on Sunday called on state lawmakers to do something about the shortage of teachers in New Mexico, saying schools are at a critical ...
2
Two-vehicle crash in Northeast Albuquerque leaves 1 seriously injured
ABQnews Seeker
Albuquerque Police Department officers were dispatched ... Albuquerque Police Department officers were dispatched to a two-vehicle crash that left one person in critical condition late Saturday, according to a news release. ...
3
Shooting in Southwest Albuquerque leaves 1 in critical condition
ABQnews Seeker
Albuquerque police say one person is ... Albuquerque police say one person is in the hospital in critical condition after a shooting near Central and Coors early Sunday morning. Albuquerque Police ...
4
College athlete deals risk tax-free scholarships
ABQnews Seeker
The college football bowl season is ... The college football bowl season is over.
5
Emptying the Notebook: Lobo Allen-Tovar steps up at Wyoming
ABQnews Seeker
Some extra notes, stats, quotes and ... Some extra notes, stats, quotes and whatever else I could to empty out of the old notebook after UNM's close loss at Wyoming
6
Finding redemption in prison
ABQnews Seeker
Los Lunas inmates provide compassion, hope ... Los Lunas inmates provide compassion, hope to peers
7
Investigation into officer's death a 'slap in the face,' ...
ABQnews Seeker
NMSP officer gunned down by federally-wanted ... NMSP officer gunned down by federally-wanted suspect during traffic stop on Feb. 4
8
'Honest' Martínez rises in ranks to House leadership
ABQnews Seeker
Lawmaker backs diverse legislation on education, ... Lawmaker backs diverse legislation on education, cannabis and tax rates
9
New approach to teaching race in school divides NM
ABQnews Seeker
Students would learn about social identity ... Students would learn about social identity under new plan