LOS LUNAS-Rio Metro plans to construct a new transit center to house administration offices in Los Lunas to continue to serve the Valencia County community.

The design is expected to be finished by the end of 2021 with the nine-month construction currently scheduled to take off in December.

“This will be the first time that we have all of our Valencia County operations under one roof,” said Tony Sylvester, a planning and development manager with Rio Metro, during a presentation to the  Los Lunas Village Council during a May 20 meeting.

Sylvester said it is one of the main motivations for the project, as opposed to borrowing parking space from the village to house its fleet of transit vehicles and leasing office space.

With the help of letters from the village of Los Lunas, Rio Metro was able to secure grant funding through the Federal Transit Administration in 2019.

Currently, Rio Metro offers several routes to, from and within Valencia County including the Rail Runner service running from Belen to Santa Fe, the Dial-A-Ride service and four bus routes.

The new administration building is planned for a currently vacant three-acre lot that has gone unoccupied for many years near the junction of N.M. 6 and N.M. 47, on Lambros Loop.

“While we may not want to expand right now, we want to make sure the site accommodates future growth as we might need it,” Sylvester said to the council.

While the $7.5 million first phase of construction —  including parking for their fleet, a 8,000 square foot office space, storage space and vehicle prep area — is scheduled to be completed next year, the second phase won’t commence for another decade, according to Sylvester.

Phase two currently includes a yard expansion, two maintenance bays and a fueling station, but is subject to change as the needs of the community shift.

“At Rio Metro, we realize that while we have a very long corridor of transit from Albuquerque to Santa Fe and down to Socorro, the success of our transit services really correlates to our understanding and relationship towards our communities,” Sylvester said.

Sylvester explained the new transit facility has been a top priority of the agency for the past decade, with the office working closely with village officials on the project so it can better address the transportation needs of the community.

Studio Southwest, the agency leading the designs on the new transportation center, is basing the style of the facility to “fit into the spirit of the agricultural history of Los Lunas and the north/south corridor extending from Bosque Farms to Peralta,” Sylvester said.

Sylvestor gave the presentation to the village council to inform them about the status on the project, but no action was required since a permitting process with the city is not necessary for execution of the transit center.

 

Makayla Grijalva was born and raised in Las Cruces. She is a 2020 graduate of The University of New Mexico, where she studied multimedia journalism, political science and history. She covers the village of Los Lunas, Los Lunas Schools, SODA and the town of Peralta.