The Price of Positivity - Primed for PDV
02/28/2016 Editorial by Renee Wilkins
There’s a price to positivity. Yes, feel-good government has a high cost. And if you haven’t noticed yet, it will soon become clear that we’ve been primed for a new project. After months of being fed a constant diet of negativity, we are thirsty for something positive. Something we can all work on together with the common goal of improving Rio Rancho, at a cost of course. What is it, you ask? Wait for it……. “Paseo Del Volcan”.
Sandoval Economic Alliance, the Chamber of Commerce, the Rio Rancho Observer and several politicians have jumped on the Paseo Del Volcan bandwagon. Let’s hold our horses and carefully consider risk and reward regarding PDV expansion. No one disputes that having PDV finished would be good for Rio Rancho, however the cost of such a project may be prohibitive or extremely burdensome. Buzz words like “connectivity” are in the air. What are we connecting? PDV would link I-40 on the western outskirts of Albuquerque with Hwy 550 at Rio Rancho/Bernalillo.
Paving PDV is being sold as a necessity to draw manufacturing and jobs. Travelers would also use it to bypass Albuquerque. The promoters say the cost will be $96 Million, and they’ll solicit federal funding since it’s a highway. What’s the catch? This cost doesn’t include extending utilities (water, sewer, gas, electricity) infrastructure to support development or covering public services. The cost for PNM to run a new sub-station near the City Center cost tens of millions and increased everyone’s electric bills.
Without a doubt, Albuquerque and MRCOG need to be fully on board and in sync to avoid a road to nowhere far ahead of its time. We’ve been sold down this river of no return before with the City Center/Star Center dream, which has given the kiss of death to every team making its home there. County officials also sang the praises of salvation in an inadequately researched and cost-prohibitive desalination plant a few years back. And who could forget the RailRunner?
The salesmen are now rewriting history, stating that PDV was responsible for bringing Cleveland HS, UNM West, HP, UNM Hospital, CNM and The Star Center, which really puts the cart before the horse. Construction of the City Center was approved before PDV was paved from Unser to Iris. PDV from Iris to 550 was constructed after Cleveland HS opened up. Does this mean all those hundreds of millions of tax dollars invested in these ventures will finally see their full potential if we do this one last thing?
Grandiose projects have their place, but what guarantees do we have that this one will be different than the rest? How soon would we see a return on our investment? Are we expending our limited resources in pursuit of a dream that will not materialize for 20 years, while ignoring more realistic projects that would achieve tangible results within 1-3 years?
In pursuit of positivity, Rio Rancho is being sold an expensive cure-all elixir. Whether or not we buy snake oil is up to us. Read the ingredients before drinking. And be ready for the consequences.