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Keyword: richardsonsrailroad

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  • New Mexico’s commuter rail line faces financial burdens (Richardson's railroad: Expensive legacy)

    05/08/2015 1:13:10 PM PDT · by CedarDave · 36 replies
    The Albuquerque Journal ^ | May 7, 2015 | Vik Jolly , AP
    When launched in 2006, a New Mexico commuter rail line that would connect Albuquerque and Santa Fe was hailed by supporters as a progressive step toward taking people out of cars and putting them on the train. But as impressive a feat as it was for a poor state’s huge foray into mass public transit, it comes at a price: The train earned $2.8 million last fiscal year in fares from more than a million riders but cost $28.4 million to operate. And even bigger amounts of red ink are looming over the horizon. Now the question of whether the...
  • Editorial: Rail Runner Tax Idea Should Fuel Discussion (NM-Richardson's Railroad)

    02/07/2012 10:31:14 AM PST · by CedarDave · 9 replies
    The Albuquerque Journal ^ | February 4, 2012 | Journal Editorial Staff
    Sen. George Muñoz, D-Gallup, has proposed legislation that would tax residents of the counties the New Mexico Rail Runner Express chugs through. That’s because the train chugs through money much faster than it chugs from Belen to Santa Fe. In fact, it takes $23.4 million to operate the train annually, plus there’s $843.3 million in capital and financing costs the state owes through 2027. The folks Muñoz calls train “users” already pay an additional $13 million in sales taxes annually to help finance the train, and only $3.2 million comes in to the fare box each year. So with $5.4...
  • Rail Runner: Go big or go lean? (NM-Richardson's Railroad, bleeding rivers of red-ink)

    08/17/2011 7:42:08 AM PDT · by CedarDave · 32 replies
    KRQE News 13 Albuquerque ^ | August 16, 2011 | Dean Staley
    ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - New Mexico’s commuter train is in dire need of grand ideas if it is to financially survive, according to one of the train’s supporters. But Gov. Susana Martinez is wary of expensive, unfunded plans and believes the state needs to take a long, hard look at the 5-year-old Rail Runner Express to find a way lessen the financial bloodletting. “It’s craziness,” said Keith Gardner, Martinez’s chief of staff. “This is not the way the state should be run.” Martinez views the train as a financial boondoggle perpetrated by former Gov. Bill Richardson, he said. “We need to...
  • Weekend Rail Runner Service Preserved - for now (NM - Richardson's Railroad)

    07/15/2011 7:22:37 PM PDT · by CedarDave · 17 replies
    Santa Fe New Mexican ^ | July 15, 2011 | Julie Ann Grimm
    ALBUQUERQUE - It appears that weekend train service on the New Mexico Rail Runner Express won't get the axe this summer after all. Officials with the Rio Metro Regional Transit District today directed staff to go back to the drawing board and find another way to make up an estimated $1.2 million shortfall in the train budget for the current fiscal year. Members voted to consolidate late-night southbound trains on weekdays, replace the earliest northbound trains with a bus, and other schedule changes they estimate will save $1.4 million in operating costs. "If we are ever going to make this...
  • Rail Runner Faces Hidden Costs (NM - Richardson's Railroad fast running to a fiscal red light)

    07/11/2011 6:08:51 PM PDT · by CedarDave · 28 replies
    The Albuquerque Journal ^ | July 9, 2011 | Colleen Heild / Journal Investigative Reporter
    Add it to the bill. Just as weekend Rail Runner service to Santa Fe is set to end due to financial woes, it turns out the state needs to shell out an additional $16 million for track and system maintenance. That’s on top of the projected $25 million in yearly maintenance and operational costs – before the weekend service cuts – that have already created a budget crunch for the Belen-to-Santa Fe operation. The train has about 4,500 weekday boardings going one way and is expected to generate about $3.2 million in fares. Records reviewed by the Journal show an...
  • Rail Runner a Fiscal Challenge (NM-Looking for ways to save Richardson's Railroad)

    07/05/2011 4:51:56 PM PDT · by CedarDave · 18 replies
    The Albuquerque Journal ^ | July 3, 2011 | Larry Abraham, Vice-Chair, Rio Metro Regional Transit District board
    As vice chairman of the Rio Metro Regional Transit District board, and the member who made the motion to end weekend service, I feel a certain responsibility to bring to light the facts we are facing. ... the bottom line is that all the citizens of New Mexico are carrying the $1.3 billion financial burden of the Rail Runner. ... the train is serving approximately 2,250 individuals per weekday. The Rail Runner is facing a $1.2 million deficit in fiscal 2012, which begins July 1 of this year. We faced a similar financial crisis in late 2009. Gov. Richardson directed...
  • Fiscal Train Wreck (NM-Richardson's Railroad Runs deeply into the Red)

    07/05/2011 11:02:22 AM PDT · by CedarDave · 25 replies
    The Albuquerque Journal ^ | July 3, 2011 | Olivier Uyttebrouck
    New Mexico’s Rail Runner Express could be on track for a fiscal train wreck. ... the need to address a projected $1.2 million shortfall in the train’s operating budget for the fiscal year that began Friday, was behind the controversial decision to discontinue weekend service. Los Ranchos Mayor Larry Abraham, vice chairman of the railroad’s governing board, said the move was a wake-up call about a looming financial crisis ... Abraham also did some math in an op-ed piece he submitted to the Journal. Using current revenue, operation expense and debt service, he calculates the Rail Runner will have cost...
  • Rail Runner dropping weekend trains (NM-Richardson's Railroad)

    06/17/2011 6:04:20 PM PDT · by CedarDave · 14 replies
    KRQE News 13, Albuquerque ^ | June 17, 2011 | KRQE
    ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - The Rio Metro board of directors voted Friday to eliminate weekend Rail Runner Express commuter trains in August. The board, trying to balance its budget for next fiscal year, cited the loss of $1.2 million in federal funding.
  • Funds loss might trim Rail Runner service (NM-Richardson's Railroad)

    06/15/2011 12:33:30 PM PDT · by CedarDave · 9 replies
    The Santa Fe New Mexican ^ | June 13, 2011 | Trip Jennings
    The Rail Runner Express is considering curtailing weekday train service to save money. Changes could force early birds to take a bus instead of a train between metropolitan Albuquerque and Santa Fe, and eliminate some stops at the year-old Kewa Pueblo station, if one proposal is adopted. The loss of $1.2 million in federal funding prompted the Mid-Region Council of Governments, which operates the Rail Runner for the state of New Mexico, to rethink the passenger train schedule, spokesman Jay Faught said. Among the proposals, he said, are to use bus service to replace the earliest northbound and southbound trains...
  • Track Deal Derailed (NM-Richardsons Railroad

    04/29/2011 7:42:51 PM PDT · by CedarDave · 5 replies
    No deal. That's the decision from the state Department of Transportation, which notified BNSF Railway Co. this week that the state was terminating an agreement to buy 182 miles of unneeded northern New Mexico train track. And Gov. Susana Martinez wants a $2.35 million refund. In 2008, the administration of former Gov. Bill Richardson paid nearly $5 million for the track from Lamy, N.M., to the Colorado border. The segment is used only by Amtrak for twice-daily passenger service. BNSF stopped its freight service there several years ago. The unneeded segment was part of a package deal that enabled the...
  • Rail Runner Express ridership dips (NM - Richardson's Railroad doing poorly.

    01/14/2011 11:26:47 AM PST · by CedarDave · 14 replies
    Santa Fe New Mexican ^ | January 13, 2011 | Kate Nash
    Fewer riders took the Rail Runner Express in the last quarter of 2010, in part because there were fewer trains to take after Saturday service was reduced. New numbers show passengers in the last quarter of 2010 took 268,793 trips, compared with 301,386 in the fourth quarter of 2009. "(The difference) is almost entirely explained by our loss of ridership on the weekends," said Chris Blewett, the train project manager. October of last year saw a drop of 15.7 percent compared with the previous October, when the train offered a popular special service for the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. November...
  • Not so Fast There, Bill... (NM-Richardson's Railroad)

    01/06/2011 9:02:41 AM PST · by CedarDave · 7 replies
    American Thinker ^ | December 20, 2010 | Russ Vaughn
    Reading Saunders' article [San Francisco Chronicle columnist, Debra Saunders' article, The Democrats' New Pork: Trains to Nowhere] inspired me to check on the latest developments of our own budget-busting, one-hundred-mile-long boondoggle here in New Mexico, the Rail Runner. Destined to someday be known as Richardson's Folly, this tax-devouring deception was conceived by carpetbagger, Democrat Governor, Bill Richardson, when he still had presidential aspirations and knew that high speed rail was a favored icon of the PC Democrat base and a guaranteed resumé enhancer for a Democrat presidential contender. Rubber-stamped by a compliant, Democrat-controlled New Mexico legislature, the project was designed...
  • Phoenix / Valley Metro Light Rail Report Card: F

    12/20/2010 4:20:41 PM PST · by JerseyHighlander · 9 replies · 1+ views
    Coyoteblog.com ^ | December 15 2010
    Phoenix / Valley Metro Light Rail Report Card: FDecember 15, 2010, 10:45 am Folks who read this site know I have been critical of Phoenix light rail since well before it was opened.  So often, folks just willfully misinterpret my criticisms.   The actual rail line and its service is pretty nice, and the facilities are quite attractive (lets see what they look like in 10 years though).  If Santa Claus had just delivered the Phoenix light rail system for free to Phoenix, I would be thrilled with it.   But Santa unfortunately was not involved, and instead the rail line was...
  • Legislators Question BNSF Track Deal (NM-Richardson's Railroad)

    12/07/2010 5:19:51 PM PST · by CedarDave · 4 replies
    The Albuquerque Journal ^ | December 7, 2010 | Colleen Heild
    It turns out the state Department of Transportation has already paid $5 million for nearly 200 miles of northern New Mexico train track it has no plans to use, but is resisting taking title to the rail line because of potential environmental problems. That revelation came during a legislative hearing Monday in which DOT officials estimated the cost of routine maintenance on the stretch of train track would cost the state nearly $6 million a year — money that would have to come from the fund the state uses for road repair and maintenance. In addition, DOT officials said Monday...
  • Richardson Deserves Credit for Big Ideas (NM: semi-barf alert)

    12/07/2010 4:48:09 PM PST · by CedarDave · 5 replies
    The Albuquerque Journal ^ | December 7, 2010 | Winthrop Quigley
    Any casual observer can easily see how [NM] state government is structured to prevent things from happening. And that is why, as his eight years in office wind down, I find myself, grudgingly, tipping my hat ever so slightly in the direction of Gov. Bill Richardson. For better and for worse, and, I have little doubt, motivated largely by his desire to be president, Bill Richardson changed a state that is designed to change only rarely. ... Richardson pushed through tax law changes, got the state Constitution amended by popular vote to increase funding for schools, established a Department of...
  • State Ends Up With 200 Miles of Track It Can't Use (NM-Richardson's Railroad)

    12/06/2010 7:47:26 PM PST · by CedarDave · 48 replies
    The Albuquerque Journal ^ | December 5, 2010 | Colleen Heild
    Just as state officials grapple with a huge budget shortfall, here comes a multimillion-dollar bill for 200 miles of railroad track the state of New Mexico has no plans to use. Records show that the state Transportation Commission voted in August to set aside $2 million in next year's budget for capital improvements along the stretch of train track from Lamy to the Colorado border. That's on top of the $5 million the state promised to pay BNSF Railway Co. to purchase that same stretch of track. State Department of Transportation spokeswoman Megan Arredondo told the Journal that the additional...
  • 'Surplus' Claim Takes Sanity Off the Rails (NM-Richardson's Railroad)

    11/05/2010 5:48:38 PM PDT · by CedarDave · 21 replies
    The Albuquerque Journal ^ | November 5, 2010 | ABQJournal Editorial Staff
    Only in government can you run almost entirely on taxpayer money, get not one but two emergency infusions, spend all but $250,000-or-so of your handouts, and have the audacity to claim you have a surplus. If that's the track of reasoning the New Mexico Rail Runner really wants to travel, then officials owe New Mexico consumers a refund. Yes, the commuter train's revenues outpaced expenditures by $254,481 for fiscal 2010 ($22,261,918 vs. $22,007,437).But only $2.927 million of that revenue came from the fare box. A big chunk — $11.95 million — came from a regional sales tax for mass transit....
  • Is the Rail Runner running on empty? (NM - Richardson's Railroad)

    10/08/2010 12:06:04 PM PDT · by CedarDave · 20 replies
    KRQE News 13, Albuquerque ^ | May 26, 2010 | Kim Holland
    ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - The New Mexico Rail Runner has been chugging through the heart of state for four years. However, it may soon face a financial train wreck. Currently the Rail Runner is supported by state and federal money. In just one year, the federal funds are set to disappear. Currently, fares only cover about 14 percent of the operating costs. BNSF Railway and Amtrak take care of another 7 percent. Voters approved a gross receipts tax in 2008 and that money makes up 54 percent of the operating costs. The state chips in 7 percent and remaining 18 percent...
  • Gov. Candidates talk about Rail Runner: Will they keep the train? (NM - Richardson's Railroad)

    10/08/2010 11:51:03 AM PDT · by CedarDave · 12 replies
    KRQE News 13, Albuquerque ^ | September 24, 2010 | Alex Tomlin
    It's been four years, and like most forms of public transportation, the rail runner isn't paying for itself. The train cost 22-million dollars to operate last fiscal year, and five million of that came from the state. So what will the next governor do about the rail runner? News 13 asked both candidates that question. Republican Governor Candidate Susana Martinez said, “We have to do an economic analysis to see how much is the public willing to pump in to that transportation? Or can we change it in a way that makes it worthwhile?” Democrat Diane Denish sent News 13...
  • Numbers mixed in Rail Runner ridership report (NM-Richardon's Railroad)

    10/07/2010 5:44:53 PM PDT · by CedarDave · 5 replies
    Santa Fe New Mexican ^ | July 08, 2010 | Kate Nash
    Riders took 45,207 fewer one-way trips on the Rail Runner Express in the second quarter of this year compared to April, May and June of last year, new figures show. At the same time, the fiscal year that ended June 30 was the most successful for the commuter train. The second-quarter numbers are the first true comparison of riders during a time in which free rides were not offered. For much of the first quarter of 2009, Santa Fe residents rode without paying. Between the second quarter of last year and the second quarter of this year, one-way ridership dropped...