The Sandoval Signpost

An Independent Monthly Newsmagazine Serving the Community since 1989

AROUND TOWN

Signpost Cartoon c. Rudi Klimpert

County to get $5.7M from state

—SIGNPOST STAFF
County spokesman and lobbyist Gayland Bryant said that Sandoval County received about $5.7 million in this year’s legislative session and could receive another $2.8 million in the special session.

This is over half of the funds it requested. Bryant said that every county request except one received some funding, including:

• Funding for a transit center and transit system—a project scheduled to begin busing rural residents next month to developed transportation centers in the county
• $950,000 to begin grading and drainage work on the 42-mile Northwest Loop road that will connect US 550 to I-40 and loop around Albuquerque via the Rio Puerco basin
• $500,000 to help renovate El Zócalo building in Bernalillo
• $540,000 for the New Mexico Soccer Complex located near the Santa Ana Star Casino
• Sandoval County shared with other counties across the state in getting some reimbursement for county jails housing state prisoners.
• $400,000 for sidewalks in Rio Rancho
• $409,000 for Phase II of the county’s Waste Conversion-Composting facility—enough to begin work on a project that will combine green waste with sewer sludge to produce commercial-grade fertilizer
• $112,000 for a landfill convenience station
• $100,000 for a storage station for road supplies needed in extreme weather
• $145,000 for furniture and equipment in the Placitas Library
• $175,000 for a public pool in Rio Rancho
• $50,000 for Placitas Elementary School playground equipment
• $75,000 for Camino de las Huertas creek crossing in Placitas


McCoy reports on special session

On March 22, after the sixty-day legislative session, State Representative Kathy McCoy emailed the Signpost, “I’d love to send you a legislative wrap-up, but given that it’s 1:30 am on Thursday morning, and we’re still sitting on the House floor, we’re obviously not wrapped up. We’ve just begun a “call of the house,” so we’re waiting for all “unaccounted for” members to be rounded up. It’s unclear whether we’ll wait an hour or up to four hours for people to drag in from wherever they are. Prior to the “call,” we were in the middle of a prolonged debate on the GRIP program, the Governor’s bill on statewide road projects. On the agenda during this special session, we are also revisiting some of the ethics bills, the domestic partner bill and election reform bills. It’s going to be a very long night. Guess I’ll have to wrap up next issue.”

The next morning she wrote, “We didn’t finish until 7:00 a.m., so it was an all-nighter! Haven’t done one of those for many years.”


Work begins along I-25 as part of Phase Two Rail Runner route to Santa Fe

Motorists may have noticed some new activity in the median of I-25 near Santa Fe recently. Crews are working on the New Mexico Rail Runner Express extension to Santa Fe. Workers have been surveying the median, and more recently they began drilling core samples to determine the nature of the subsurface soils.

“This is important work,” says Lawrence Rael, Executive Director for the Mid-Region Council of Governments. “It signifies the start of the next leg of Rail Runner service for New Mexicans, which will provide efficient and convenient transportation between two of New Mexico’s major cities—Albuquerque and Santa Fe.”
A look at these core samples will determine the adequacy of the subsurface structure to support a rail bed and other structures such as bridges.

“This work is necessary to prepare information for the design of the rail,” says Rhonda Faught, Secretary of the New Mexico Department of Transportation. “We are on an aggressive timeline to get Phase Two of the project completed by the end of next year, and this is an integral first step in the process.”

The work, which is being done by Bohannan Huston and Klienfelder, will take a couple more weeks to complete. At no time should it inconvenience drivers on the interstate.

The Rail Runner, which has become the fastest start-up of a commuter rail train in the country in the past twenty years, currently carries commuters along a fifty-mile corridor between the Town of Bernalillo and the City of Belen, with a station in downtown Bernalillo, and another station serving the airport, set to open by the end of next month.

For more information on schedules and fares, call (505) 245-RAIL or visit www.nmrailrunner.com.


Wayne Sandoval replaces Ann Rustebakke at Planning and Zoning

—SIGNPOST STAFF
At the March 15 County Commission meeting when Ann Rustebakke was presented a certificate of appreciation for eight years service on the County Planning and Zoning (P&Z) Commission, she graciously accepted. She said only, “I don’t think it’s been quite that long.” Later in the meeting Wayne Sandoval, also from Placitas, was accepted as Rustebakke’s replacement. He was appointed by Commissioner Orlando Lucero. P&Z commissioners are unpaid, and serve at the pleasure of the County Commissioner who appoints them.

Rustebakke, a longtime Placitas resident and activist, said that she did not resign, nor was she fired. She just wasn’t reappointed. “I’m okay with it, but now there are no women on the board and most of the members are from Rio Rancho. They could use a woman’s perspective and more members from the rural areas that make up most of the county, but they’re better than they used to be.”

Sandoval is a well-known businessman, active in Placitas Village and land grant issues. He had no comment other than to say that there was no swearing-in ceremony, and there was some training involved. The Sandoval County Planning and Zoning Commission makes non-binding recommendations to the County Commission on subdivision applications. The commissioners have monthly open meetings in the commission chambers at the county courthouse.


Final public comment period on transportation plan ends April 20

After two years of development, the Mid-Region Council of Governments (MRCOG) is releasing the draft 2030 Metropolitan Transportation Plan (MTP). The MTP is the long-range transportation plan that addresses future mobility needs of the metropolitan area, including issues of congestion, maintaining air quality, and improving quality of life. A thirty-day period has been set up from March 19 through April 20 for members of the public to make final comments on the plan before it goes to the Metropolitan Transportation Board for approval.

“This draft plan represents a lot of input from the public as well as our member governments,” says Mayor Larry Abraham, Chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Board. “The decisions that result from the development of the 2030 MTP will have far-reaching effects for the entire region.”

The MRCOG, which is the federally-designated planning organization for the Albuquerque Metropolitan Planning Area, forecasts that population and employment in the metro area will increase by forty percent in the next twenty-five years. The MRCOG and the various jurisdictions within the metropolitan area have come together to ensure development of a transportation network that serves everyone in the region within the constraints of anticipated funding. This plan is the result of their efforts.

“This transportation plan talks more about pedestrian, bicycle, and public transportation issues than any previous plan we’ve done,” says Lawrence Rael, Executive Director of the Mid-Region Council of Governments. “MRCOG staff have developed a state-of-the-art tool to identify areas where pedestrian projects could make a real impact. The draft plan also includes for the first time specific pedestrian projects, including a competitive grant program to assist local planners in the efforts to improve pedestrian access to jobs, schools, or shops.”

Although the MTP looks as far forward as the year 2030, it is updated every four years. Planning for the next MTP will begin within a year.

Within the thirty-day final review period, there are three public meetings scheduled for people wanting to get more detailed information about the plan. The public meetings are scheduled as follows:

• Thursday, April 5, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the MRCOG offices, 809 Copper Avenue NW in Albuquerque. (The offices are located in the big white house at 8th and Copper.)
• Tuesday, April 10, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the Sandoval County Judicial Complex Sheriff’s Office Training Room, 1500 Idalia Road in Rio Rancho. (This is located at the corner of Highway 528 and Idalia Road.)
• Wednesday, April 18, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the Los Lunas School Board Chambers, 119 Luna Avenue in Los Lunas. (This is located at the corner of Luna Avenue and Main Street.)

You may also obtain copies of the draft plan by visiting http://www.mrcog-nm.gov/. Printed copies of the 2030 MTP are now available at local libraries; at city, town, and village halls; or simply upon request directly from the MRCOG at (505) 247-1750. You are also welcome to drop by the MRCOG offices for a copy at 809 Copper Avenue NW in Albuquerque.

 

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