ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - The Albuquerque City Council meets in special session Monday in a second attempt to bypass voters on funding the Paseo del Norte-Interstate 25 interchange makeover.
At issue is $50 million in bonds the mayor's office wants to issue to jump start an overhaul of the commuter-congested interchange.
The bond issue was to be on the November general election ballot until the Attorney General's Office, in response to a question from the secretary of state, determined the bond question could not be on the ballot.
That's because state law limits bond questions on general-election ballots to state and county matters, which excludes the city.
The City Council, however, can approve issuing the bonds without voter approval if a supermajority--seven of the nine councilors--votes to do so.
The council tried that in May, but only six of the nine went for the deal.
"I hope we move forward as a City Council to do what is right for the city of Albuquerque," Councilor Brad Winter told KRQE News 13. "Things are different than they were before."
How different remains to be seen.
Of the three councilors who voted no in May--Debbie O'Malley, Rey Garduño and Isaac Benton--only Benton responded to a request from comment from News 13 on Friday.
He said he still thinks it should be up to the voters.
Since the bonds would be repaid by $3 million diverted annually from operating funds, the three councilors have said voters rather than councilors should make that decision.
Secretary of State Dianna Durán said she is seeking additional legal advice on the question of putting the city bond issue on the Nov. 6 ballot and will announce the results of that research in the coming week.
Under the plan pushed by Mayor Richard J. Berry, the city, state and Bernalillo County would raise $90 million to build a nonstop flyover from northbound I-25 to westbound Paseo and make other improvements to speed traffic flow.
The New Mexico Department of Transportation has estimated a complete rebuild of the interchange would cost at least $350 million.
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