New Mexico Capital Outlay Bill Provides Critical Economic Development Funding

A $293.7 million Capital Outlay Bill signed by Governor Susana Martinez includes critical funding for New Mexico economic development programs and road and highway infrastructure projects.

New Mexico

New Mexico (photo – rutlo/flickr)

The bill, passed through a special legislative session, expands New Mexico’s closing fund for economic development projects by $12.5 million, to a total of $50 million.

Local Economic Development Act (LEDA) funding is a vital tool that helps New Mexico communities attract new business and help existing ones to expand and grow. LEDA provides local communities access to funding for infrastructure upgrades or improvements required to support new and expanding businesses.

The capital outlay bill also contains $8 million for critical highway infrastructure improvements in and around the Santa Teresa borderplex where cross-border international trade has been growing at a fast clip and is driving the ‘Borderplex’ economy, a bi-national metro area of 2.5 million people spanning three states and two nations.

Santa Teresa’s recently expanded port of entry has reduced wait times and is making it the ideal place to access the ports of Houston and Long Beach or locations deep in Mexico by rail or on I-10, which connects with I-25 in Las Cruces, offering a direct route to the Canadian border.

The Borderplex is now a focal point of New Mexico’s growing leadership in international commerce and trade, and it has attracted huge economic development projects to New Mexico such as the recently completed $400 million full-service intermodal facility by Union Pacific on its El Paso-Los Angeles Sunset Route.

Funding for highway infrastructure improvements in and around this borderplex boom is essential to help the regional economy maintain its fast pace of growth.

All told, the capital outlay bill includes more than $70 million for highways and roads across the state. This includes $45 million for major and critical road and highway construction projects. This influx of state funding will allow New Mexico to partner with local and federal agencies and complete large-scale projects offering regional or statewide benefits.

A lot of this money will go toward repairing, resurfacing, and expanding New Mexico’s roads and highways, many of which are unsafe and in dire need of repair, and impeding economic growth.

Gov. Martinez said in a release announcing the bill that “When we invest in infrastructure, we create jobs – lots of them – in every corner of the state. And we achieve critical, lasting objectives. That’s exactly what this capital outlay bill aims to do.”

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