If you are out cruising the open roads of New Mexico, your ride might be a whole lot smoother and safer soon. Governor Susana Martinez is expected to sign off on a capital outlay bill next week that will throw $45 million to road projects.
One stretch that gets a lot of attention is US 82 near the oil fields in Lea County where narrow bumpy roads riddled with potholes are the norm.
“Obviously there’s a lot of industrial activity taking place with the oil and gas production,” Senator Carlos Cisneros, advisor to the Transportation Infrastructure Revenue Subcommittee, explained. “That area where a number of accidents are occurring, the roads are in dire need of repair.”
New Mexico Department of Transportation Secretary Church hopes to secure federal funding in order to stretch the capital outlay money.
The local money will, in part, come out of the state’s general fund and be topped off with future severance tax bonds.
During the legislative session earlier this year, lawmakers disagreed about where money for road projects should come from.
The Democrat-controlled Senate pushed for bumping up the gasoline tax to cover more than $600 million needed for road projects around the state.
Both the Republican-controlled House and the governor opposed a tax hike to fund road projects.
Correction: An earlier version of this story reported the road funds would go entirely to projects in Lea County. That has yet to be decided by the state Department of Transportation. We regret the error.