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City Approves Mass Transit Feasability Study Of Asarco Site

The City of El Paso wants to see if a mass transit terminal would be a good fit at part of Asarco’s old smelter site.

City representatives approved a study on Tuesday that will cost about $500,000 to check the feasibility of a terminal on Asarco land.

The terminal may include light rail and bus stations, according to City Rep. Beto O’Rourke.

Dover-Kohl, the Florida-based company hired by the city, specializes in projects such as this. They work based on a system, called charrette, where public input is vital to the project.

For example, in this case, some of the money will be used to rent a retail space, or store-front, so residents can go in, take a look at the drafts the city has for Asarco, and make suggestions. The City has not released where they’ll rent this space, but O’Rourke said it will happen for ten days in late June.

Last year, in a settlement overseen by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, Asarco gave up $52 million for the cleanup of the site.

A trustee is overseeing that cleanup, which could take up to 10 years. Some lawmakers, including Congressman Silvestre Reyes has said it will take four times that amount to clean up the old smelter site.

That money is only used for remediation of the site, not to fund the city’s study. However, according to O’Rourke, the city is responsible for ‘strategic planning’ of the future of Asarco.

UTEP has also shown interest in using the land to expand its campus.

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