Trump unveils 2019 budget, Gov. Martinez makes case for infrastructure
February 13, 2018 06:56 AM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – It’s one thing elected leaders can agree on – our country’s infrastructure needs an upgrade.
It’s no different here in New Mexico.
“I think we’re always in need; if you look at the backlog of road and bridge projects we’re backlogged a decade,” said Bernalillo County Commissioner Maggie Hart Stebbins.
On Monday President Donald Trump unveiled his infrastructure plan, making the announcement at a meeting with state governors, including Susana Martinez.
She backed Trump's proposal, which also emphasizes rural development, but some local leaders are apprehensive. Stebbins said the plan looks better than it actually is.
“I think it’s a little disappointing, particularly for some of us here in New Mexico,” she said.
According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, New Mexico has 258 bridges that are structurally deficient and nearly 70,000 miles of public roads that are in poor condition.
Trump’s plan includes $1.5 trillion for roads, bridges, rail and waterways, but the plan uses $200 billion in federal money to leverage local and state tax dollars.
“What’s not really clear is that local governments are being asked to invest 80 percent of all construction costs," Stebbins said. "So it’s really only a 20 percent federal investment."
While 20 percent is better than nothing, the county commissioner said it would leave local governments with the hefty responsibility of funding the majority of big projects.
“I’m not sure how many states in the country are going to have that kind of money, but certainly (for) us here in New Mexico it’s going to be really difficult,” she said.
Augusta Meyers, communications manager for Rio Metro Regional Transit District, said the money will come at a price. She said it would be paid for by cutting funding for critical public transportation infrastructure programs.
Updated: February 13, 2018 06:56 AM
Created: February 12, 2018 05:18 PM
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