A law set to expire soon could eliminate funding for the restoration of historical sites along the 2,500 miles of Route 66 Highway. The law that funds the Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program, which gives grant money to restore historic landmarks along Route 66, is set to expire in 2019. The program has kept many landmarks along the route from falling into disrepair. Development of the interstate highway system in the early 20th century caused traffic to divert from Route 66 to major freeways, and many of the sites along the highway would have suffered from lack of attention if the preservation program hadn't been implemented. Decommissioned as a US highway in 1985, Route 66, which stretches from Chicago to the West Coast, has been a major economic driver in areas it runs through, but with the preservation program's term expiration and the Trump administration's proposed $375 million cut to the National Parks Service, the program's future might be threatened. The Associated Press reported that some lawmakers are working to save the program or get Congress to designate Route 66 as a National Historical Trail, a change that would set aside dedicated preservation funds annually.
APS Approves New Budget
The Albuquerque Public Schools Board of Education passed a $1.3 billion budget last week. Five board members voted in favor of the budget. Peggy Muller-Aragón opposed it, and Analee Maestas abstained from voting. Both Muller-Aragón and Maestas voiced concerns over the planned reorganizations of the gifted education and school computer technician programs—which will save $2 million—which they say could be harmful to teachers and students. Dr. David Peercy, current president of the APS Board of Education, said that the restructuring will only involve moving employees and should not impact student curriculum. According to a summary presented to the board, other budgetary changes will include the reorganizing of district headquarters, the elimination of 52 positions across departments—a number of which are vacant and will not be filled—and a four-day reduction in workdays for central office and maintenance and operations employees. Even with the cuts, APS projects flat revenue for the next fiscal year.
Plans For Solid Waste Center Released
A community information meeting held last week in Bernalillo outlined plans for the proposed Sandoval County Solid Waste Regional Center. The project's application was submitted for review by the New Mexico Environment Department’s Solid Waste Bureau in December 2016. The Sandoval County Public Works Department, which has a pending permit for the project, says it will use a solar-powered liquid extraction system, geosynthetic clay and a monitoring probe that goes 30 feet into the Earth. The site will be 500 acres total, with 383 of those acres devoted to landfill. If approved by the Solid Waste Bureau, it will be at least 10 years before the project is operational, and will take over 50 years to complete. The approval process could take up to two years.