- Short Note on Yesterday’s Legislative Finance Committee Meeting
Because of my membership on the House Appropriations and Finance Committee, I was asked to attend the LFC meeting in Rio Rancho Friday as an alternate.
The LFC holds hearings throughout the year on budget issues. Yesterday’s focus was on the condition of the state’s Road Fund.
The Department of Transportation (DOT) reported that because of increasingly gas-efficient cars, diversion of fees and taxes originally designated for the Road Fund into other areas, and the large debt payments for past road projects and the Rail Runner, the DOT no longer has sufficient funds for road projects.
If the Legislature doesn’t act and federal funds don’t fill the gap (unlikely according to the DOT), the DOT expects to see continuing deterioration of New Mexico’s roads, particularly rural roads.
Lack of maintenance will mean more costly replacement projects in the future and one should expect some roads to return to gravel roads.
We can expect this to be a major issue in the next legislative session. During the discussion Sen. Carlos Cisneros Los Alamos, Rio Arriba, Santa Fe and Taos, talked eloquently about the impact of road funding on economic development.
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