BY DENNIS DOMRZALSKI The Albuquerque Rapid Transit-related water line relocation projects along Central Avenue will continue for now without legal efforts to stop them, an attorney in one of the two federal court lawsuits against ART said Thursday. That's because the city has agreed to notify attorneys in the lawsuits of any further ART-related infrastructure projects on Central before actual ART construction begins, and because the city has agreed to rebuild medians on West Central that are being bulldozed for the relocation projects. The city has also agreed to not start any actual ART construction until the judge in the cases has had a chance to read all the briefs and other documents related to Attorney John McCall's request for a preliminary injunction to stop the $119 million ART project. McCall, who filed one of the suits against ART, told ABQ Free Press that an agreement with the city was reached Thursday in a conference call between attorneys for the city and the two lawsuits with U.S. District Judge Kenneth Gonzales. “I had asked for an emergency hearing for injunctive relief, and the judge was ready to hear it, but because of what the city put on the table I withdrew it,” McCall said. “We resolved the issue for the time being.” ART opponents have denounced the water line relocation work, which began Tuesday along opposite ends of Central, as sneaky and underhanded. The Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority is doing the work and said it is needed before ART construction can begin. Water lines have to be moved from under where ART stations will be placed so they will be accessible to maintenance crews in the future, water authority spokesman David Morris said. McCall said the attorneys will file briefs in June and that a hearing on the preliminary injunction to stop ART will probably occur in early to mid-July. The city, meanwhile, has yet to get permission from the Federal Transportation Administration that it can go ahead and spend the $69 million federal grant for the ART, McCall said. That's because Congress has yet to approve President Obama's budget, which contains the ART grant.
The following blog post ART Water Line Work to Continue was first published on ABQ Free Press Marketing Blog