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Bernalillo County asked to contribute up to $400K for project in Valencia County

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Bernalillo County commissioners next week will consider contributing hundreds of thousands of dollars to an economic-development project that lies beyond the county line.

The village of Los Lunas — about a 30-minute drive south of Downtown Albuquerque — is asking Bernalillo County to contribute $200,000 to $400,000 for construction of a rail spur near state Highway 6 and Interstate 25. The village is also asking the state government to help.

The money would help fund development of a regional rail and logistics park. The county and state money would go toward construction of a rail line at the site — allowing future manufacturers to load their products directly onto rail cars, supporters say

Private investment of about $20 million would complete the project, according to county documents.

The company behind the project, Rio Real Estate Investment Opportunities LLC, estimates it would directly create 5,000 jobs in the metropolitan area, according to the county.

Rio Real Estate’s management team includes Tim Cummins, a former Bernalillo County commissioner, and Lawrence Rael, former executive director of the Mid-Region Council of Governments.

Cummins said the project is a worthwhile investment for Albuquerque residents because it has the potential to boost the economy as a whole across the region. Intel’s Rio Rancho plant, for example, lies outside Bernalillo County boundaries, he said, but it’s still a positive force in the local economy.

The Los Lunas rail park would create “more employment and more capital investment in an economy that’s failing,” Cummins said Friday in an interview. “… We needs jobs, and we need jobs across the board. There is no other location, in my opinion, where you can go and put 5,000-plus jobs and create a new employment center.”

But the project isn’t feasible, he said, unless the government brings in the rail spur.

Bernalillo County commissioners are set to consider an agreement with Los Lunas during their 5 p.m. meeting on Tuesday.