I am writing today to announce the closure of the New Mexico Independent. After three and a half years of operation in New Mexico, the board of the American Independent News Network, has decided to shift publication of its news…
N.M. puts federal road and bridge money on its holiday wish list
New Mexico transportation officials are quietly hoping Congress quickly passes a federal economic stimulus plan that includes billions for road and bridge construction.
If that happens, the state could see north of $100 million in much-needed funds for roads and bridges, depending on the size of the bill, state Transportation Secretary Rhonda Faught said Tuesday.
Any injection of money would help New Mexico right now as it continues to struggle with a funding gap to pay for road construction, bridge repair and road maintenance, Faught said.
“All this would be a huge help to us,” Faught said.
Some federal lawmakers are discussing the possibility of trying to pass an economic recovery bill costing $400 billion to $500 billion next month that would include money to build roads and bridges.
Faught said New Mexico likely would get $150 million if federal money for roads and bridges equaled $18 billion. “With a $25 billion bill, New Mexico’s cut would be $200 million to $250 million,” she said.
New Mexico’s transportation agency already has compiled a $1 billion priority list of projects for the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, which advocates on the behalf of states before Congress.
And it is now beginning to prioritize projects based on what the Land of Enchantment might receive if such legislation became a reality.
“We are in the process of prioritizing projects if we get $100 million, or $250 million,” Faught told the Independent on Tuesday.
She said the agency is using three criteria to rank projects — which are ready to go, which roads or bridges are in the most need of repair, and what would have the most positive effect on the economy.