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So two major news storys tonight that are going to effect Albuquerque in big ways.

First off, the Cell Phone ban for Albuquerque has passed the city council and will now go to Mayor Marty where he can sign it or veto it. I do not much about this bill, but I do know that police / fire and first responders will be exempt from the bill if they are using there phone to respond to something.

Now the news said the bill would go into effect in 2 or 3 weeks. I think that is a little proactive. I mean, that’s not even 1 month’s time to get the word out. Also I have heard of no phase in time where you would get a warning if you were caught using your cell phone and driving. I am not opposed to the bad, since you can still you your phone with a hands free device, but I think the way the city council has gone about this, and the speed is just wrong.

The fine for the first offense will be $100.00, which is the same if you are caught by one of our many red-light cameras.

I hope that Mayor Marty sends it back to the city council to get something right. Now for all I know, all of my issues could have already been taken care of, and just not reported on.

The second news story was about the Paseo Del Norte / I-25 cluster fuck! It looks like the new budget from President Bush will include 20 million dollars to help pay for the new much needed interchange. Now, 20 million dollars to any non-rich person would sound like a lot of money, but really it’s just a fraction of the cost of this project. The Paseo / I-25 / Jefferson project is expected to cost 125 million dollars. So, right now, if I remember right, 20 million was already appropriated for this project. The city just put up 1 million seed money to get this thing moving (laughs), and now we have another 20 million from the prez (if it passes congress). So 41 million out of a 125 million, not even half way there.

Now what I found sicking is when the news said that if we get more money from the feds, which is what happened when they redid Coors and I-40 a year back (do not even get me started on that), then we might see this all built in 5 years, but if the funding does not come in, then we could be expected to finally see construction in another 10 year.

Yep, you heard me right, 10 years! I really do not want to deal with this crap for another 10 years before there is a fix. I will move somewhere else before 10 years is over if they do not fix this. The problem is not just the 1-25 / Paseo area, It effects the whole north I-25 corridor and the whole Paseo Del Norte corridor, which in turns effects the whole city.

I think we are one of the few city's our size that deals with a 2 to 3 hour bumper to bumper rush hour both in the morning and in the evening.

I also think that the city / states priorities are really screwed up. First off, they redid the Coors and I-40 interchange. I will not say it did not need to be done, but really, it did not need to be done as bad as Paseo and I-25. Second, the state is trying for some unknown reason to expand I-40 from the Big-I east to the city limits. I know this section of interstate is older, but right now traffic volumes on I-40 are lower then that of I-25. Also, many years back the state expanded I-40 from Coors to the Big-I. Right now, that section of freeway, our only 10 lane freeway (5 lanes each direction) has the lowest traffic volume of all the interstates in the city. Right now, Paseo Del Norte's traffic volumes are getting ready to exceed that of the section of I-40.

There are other issues that I think should have been second to Paseo / I-25, but those are the major ones. Also the city really needs to step up and provide more money for this project. I know its an interchange of a interstate and a state highway, but it still with in the city limits and really needs more money put forth by the city. I mean, how much was the city willing to spend on the Modern Street Car project they wanted to put down Central? Hell, throw that money at this project and I think we would be really close to being able to fun our project.

Yes, we really do need modern mass-transit, but not down Central. This is the corridor that is already served by not one, but two different bus lines, one of which is the rapid-ride stuff. Now I say this after looking over our current mass-transit system, but it SUCKS big. I have figured it out, and there is no way to get from my house to UNM to the Office then Home again on the bus system. No way at all. Hell, there is very little bus service to from my apartment to my office unless you leave at butt-ass-early.

Ok, enough planning crap. I am sure you have all zoned out by now, so I will shut up.

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Kevin Murray

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