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FTA Grant to Support Plans for Proactive Development Around Albuquerque Rapid Transit Stations

Funding will help implement vision for strengthening, growing Central corridor

The Federal Transit Administration recently funded an $860,000 competitive grant to the City of Albuquerque as part of the national Transit Oriented Development (TOD) Planning program. Albuquerque was chosen for the award because of its focus on redeveloping and increasing local investment in the neighborhoods around the Central Avenue corridor.

Funding is specifically intended to support TOD planning and the identification of neighborhood public improvements within a half mile, or about a 10-minute walk, of Albuquerque Rapid Transit stations along Central. TOD initiatives along the corridor are part of a larger effort to update the city's comprehensive plan. Cities that have combined a major transit system upgrade with a significant overhaul of zoning codes, as Albuquerque is doing, have more than doubled their returns over cities that have done only one or the other.

The goal of TOD is twofold: 1) to further connect transit, housing and destinations so people can more easily get from where they live to places they want to go; and 2) to increase the number of residents and businesses in the corridor.

Benefits of TOD in cities where it is done well, according to the FTA, include strengthening surrounding businesses; attracting development investment; revitalization of adjacent neighborhoods; increased supply of affordable housing and more diverse housing choices; transportation options; economic returns to surrounding landowners and businesses; congestion relief; improved safety for pedestrians and cyclists; and increased ridership and associated revenue gains for transit systems.

An analysis recently completed by the Center for Neighborhood Technology, a nationally respected nonprofit expert in transportation and community development, shows Albuquerque is poised for a potential $2 billion of reinvestment and $1 billion in collective savings to households in the next 10 years as a result of TOD.

“The extension of a feasible transit service is a proven anti-poverty measure across America, where transportation represents the second largest and fastest growing cost to households,” said Gary Oppedahl, Director for the City of Albuquerque Economic Development Department. “Growing more residential and business options in transit-served, mixed-use, walkable urban areas has also been proven to attract investment in city after city.”

Among research Oppedahl cites is a new report from former New Mexico resident Chris Leinberger, now a business professor at George Washington University.

The competitive grant award was announced in 2015 to 21 metropolitan cities, including Albuquerque. Others that received TOD funding include Atlanta, Phoenix, San Francisco, Miami, Chicago, Detroit and Pittsburgh. The award was funded August 16.