El Paso's MPO discusses big transportation plans

KDBC
Friday, July 12, 2013 - 6:45pm

The city vows to continue pushing forward with plans -- to build a street car system that would run from Kern place to Downtown and back. But funding for the trolley -- and another big transportation project could be in jeopardy.

El Paso’s Metropolitan Planning Organization talked big money on Friday.

"The Franklin Park Visitors Center was fully funded at $3 million,” State Rep. Marisa Marquez who represents District 77 said.

"The estimate that we have for the route that we've designed is $90 million,” City Manager Joyce Wilson explained.

But as the discussions pushed forward, "The issue here at the MPO is I want to make sure that we're securing funding at the MPO level for that park entrance,” Marquez said.

"We're going to be hopeful over the next year that we'll get some notification of funding available to start the project,” Wilson told us.

It was clear the funding hasn't been secured for either project.

"We have done the preliminary engineering and we'll be submitting it to the state,” the City Manager said.

"If we at the state are leveraging funds and trying to fight hard to get line items to fully fund a visitors center. I wanted to make sure that the MPO was going to be able to meet that challenge,” the State Representative explained.

Along with discussing the plan to build an underpass that allows drivers to enter franklin state park without merging with opposing traffic. Officials also outlined the long-term plans for the downtown trolley project. The trolley would run through parts of Downtown El Paso.

But one el pasoan is concerned because the trolley route only goes through one part of the Sun City.

"That is designed, not to solve a transportation need, but for economic development reasons,” Mike Rooney of East El Paso said.

Nothing concrete has passed with the trolley project nor the underpass at the Franklin Mountains because it doesn't fit the MPO’s short-term plans but one plan was approved... And that's the city's two million dollar bike sharing program.

"Being a world class city in that way of being safe for public transit, bikes, and pedestrians, then this is much needed money and it's real exciting,” Amanda Formica of VELO El Paso said,

The City Manager did say they hope to get the funding for the trolley project by Summer 2014.
 

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