Press "Enter" to skip to content

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Looks like there is a good news regarding the Mayor’s Desire Named Streetcar (subscription):

The tax for streetcars will go on a ballot after all.

Mayor Martin and City Council President Martin Heinrich said they will ask voters to decide whether the city’s transportation tax should continue until 2020 to pay for a streetcar system on Central Avenue.

Councilors recently approved a rewrite of the transportation tax ordinance to provide money for streetcars while extending the tax until 2020. It led to controversy because the council did not send the question to voters, who had approved the original tax in 1999 with the idea that it would expire after 10 years.

So, the Council and Mayor has seen the errors of their ways and realized that it is wrong to extend a tax willy-nilly that only passed the first time by about 700 votes. But, here’s the bad part. Despite, the Mayor’s “strong commitment” to education, he is showing that his desire for a streetcar trumps all:

Councilor Ken Sanchez said officials should consider putting the tax on the ballot in October, during Albuquerque’s regular municipal election.

He said it would be less costly than holding a special election in February, and it would provide more time to study the streetcar issue.

Sanchez said the APS election on Feb. 6 will deal with a property-tax proposal, and adding the transportation tax to the ballot might hurt the chances for both measures.

Chávez said an election in February would provide a decision while the Legislature is still in session. That could help the city in its efforts to get state support for the streetcar system, he said.
Now for the ugly part:
They also pointed out that the transportation tax would provide money for road projects, trails, bikeways and the bus system, in addition to the streetcar project.

I hate when they do that. This tax increase is about building a Streetcar for the Mayor because… well, because he wants to build one. Yet, now that the voters are actually going to get a chance to vote on it, the supporters are already trying to position it as something else. If this were about providing money for “for road projects, trails, bikeways and the bus system,” you think they would have thought to tell us that in the first place.

It was shenanigans just like this that killed the Quality of Life Tax Initiative.