WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sens. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) and U.S. Reps. Teresa Leger Fernández (D-N.M.) and Gabe Vasquez (D-N.M.) are welcoming over $61 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to lower utility costs and improve public safety for rural and underserved communities in New Mexico.
The funding comes from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Rural Partners Network program. The Rural Partners Network program RPN is an all-of-government program of more than 800 federal, state and local partners that collaborate to address specific needs in communities that have long struggled to access government programs and funding.
“If we want to build a better future for all New Mexicans, we need to be sure our rural communities have a seat at the table,” Heinrich said. “By investing in infrastructure that will improve public safety, lower utility costs, and provide electricity to hundreds of households, this federal funding will help bridge opportunity gaps and keep our rural communities connected.”
“I’m proud to join my colleagues in welcoming such a critical investment that will help lower utility costs and ensure our rural communities are safe and supported,” Luján said. “Through this funding of $61 million, over 700 New Mexicans will be connected, a new fire station will be built, and rural small businesses and producers will receive funding to make energy-efficient improvements throughout our state.”
“In New Mexico, we value our rural communities and must make sure they have the resources they need not just to survive, but to thrive,” Leger Fernández said. “These funds will get hundreds of Nuevo Mexicanos connected to reliable electricity and improve the grid so we can better serve families, businesses, farmers, and ranchers. That’s why I came to Congress – and I’ll make sure not a dime is left in Washington that could help New Mexico.”
“Supporting our rural communities helps ensure our entire state is able to grow and succeed, and it’s great news that the USDA is supporting the Public Safety Complex in Sunland Park, for too long they have been underserved,” Vasquez said. “It is also promising to future generations that the Rural Development investments will promote energy-efficiency and renewable energy systems and also improve multiple miles of line for rural New Mexico.”
The USDA funding includes:
- $60,095,000 to Farmers Electric Cooperative Inc. from the Electric Infrastructure Loan and Loan Guarantee Program. This investment will be used to connect 738 consumers across New Mexico and Texas and build and improve 161 miles of line.
- $950,000 to the City of Sunland Park for the construction of a Public Safety Complex. The Public Safety Complex will correct a severely underserved area by placing a new fire station near the center of the city. The new facility will house 12 permanently assigned personnel on 24-hour rotating shifts. It will also house the police headquarters and a prisoner holding facility.
- $100,000 to the Regents of New Mexico State University for rural small businesses and agricultural producers to make energy-efficiency improvements throughout the state of New Mexico.