Valencia County Transit Facility
Welcome to the project page for the Valencia County Transit Facility (VCTF), the future home of Rio Metro’s bus services in Valencia County located near the intersection of NM 6 and 47 in the Village of Los Lunas. Check in here each month for an update on the project’s progress.
Latest Update (September 2021)
VCTF design is now 60% complete, and Rio Metro staff have reviewed the plans and provided their comments back to the design team. The difference in the level of detail between the 60% plans and the 30% plans that Rio Metro staff reviewed earlier this spring is striking. Conceptual layouts have given way to foundation and framing details, asphalt and concrete cross sections, planting and irrigation plans, wiring diagrams, and more.
As the design team moves into the next phase (90% plans), it is keeping a close eye on raw material costs and their impact on the project budget. Both steel (rebar, structural supports, etc.) and copper (electrical wire) prices are at record highs, and have the potential drive up the project’s cost by 30%. Wood prices also soared this last spring and summer, but have since returned to pre-pandemic levels. For these reasons, the design team has switched the framing for the administration building from steel to wood—which should have no impact on the building’s useful life or function—and is evaluating other strategies to save money.
Because the VCTF is being funded, in part, by a grant from the Federal Transit Administration, the project must also comply with Buy America. Buy America regulations require that all iron, steel and manufactured products that go into the VCTF be produced in the US. Compliance with Buy America is estimated to increase the project’s costs by about 15%—and some products aren’t readily available from US manufacturers—but this tradeoff is well worth making to support American industry.
- June 2019: Rio Metro submits 5339 Bus and Bus Facilities grant application to FTA
- November 2019: FTA awards $6 million grant to Rio Metro for Phase 1 design and construction
- July 2020: FTA approves Rio Metro’s categorical exclusion (environmental) document
- September 2020: Rio Metro’s environmental consultant, Parametrix, completes required archaeological investigation
- October 2020: Rio Metro begins design with consultants Bohannan-Huston and Studio Southwest Architects
- December 2021 (tentative): Rio Metro completes design and bids project
- February 2022 (tentative): Construction contractor begins construction
- December 2022 (tentative): Construction complete. Staff and vehicles relocate to VCTF.
In 2010, Rio Metro accepted responsibility for the transit services previously operated by the Village of Los Lunas and the City of Belen. As part of this transition, the Village leased office space to Rio Metro at the Los Lunas Transportation Center (LLTC) to house administration staff, and also leased space at the Village’s Fleet Maintenance Yard for Rio Metro’s buses and minivans. Today, the LLTC and the yard are at capacity, and the Village would like to use the space Rio Metro is currently leasing to better serve its growing community.
This arrangement is also no longer ideal for Rio Metro. Because the yard is at capacity, Rio Metro cannot increase its fleet size in order to provide additional service. Also, each bus driver loses time traveling between the LLTC and the yard at the beginning and end of their shifts—time that could otherwise be spent transporting residents.
In response to these needs, Rio Metro applied for and was awarded a $6 million grant in 2019 from FTA’s highly competitive Section 5339(b) Bus and Bus Facilities program to design and construct Phase 1 of the VCTF in Los Lunas. Phase 1 will include administration and storage buildings; staff, visitor and bus parking areas; utilities; drainage; landscaping; fencing and gates; security cameras and access controls. Pending future funding, Phase 2 will feature a maintenance building, expanded bus parking, bus wash, and fuel island.
The project will be located at the intersection of NM 47 and Lambros Loop, on a vacant, 8-acre parcel owned by NMDOT and leased to Rio Metro.