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New Mexico: $50M proposed for highways

Email|Print| Text size + By Barry Massey
Associated Press Writer / January 17, 2008

SANTA FE—Gov. Bill Richardson proposes to spend $50 million to help pay for road construction projects that are stalled because of a financing shortfall.

The money for highway work is part of nearly $549 million worth of capital improvements recommended by the governor to the Legislature.

The state is unable to move ahead with 29 highway construction projects because of a financing shortfall of nearly a half billion dollars. The delayed projects were part of a statewide transportation package approved in 2003.

The shortfall is largely because of rising construction costs -- such as higher prices for asphalt and concrete -- and the state isn't receiving as much federal highway money as had been expected when the 2003 transportation package was enacted.

The largest share of Richardson's capital outlay proposals are for higher education, almost $152 million. Economic development and infrastructure projects total $110 million and $65 million is for health and human service projects. The governor recommended about $41 million for water projects.

Financing for the capital improvements would come from surplus money from the state's main budget account and proceeds from bonds, including general obligation bonds that must be approved by voters next November.

The Legislature will consider the governor's proposals in developing a capital improvement financing package, which typically is approved near the end of a legislative session.

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