New Mexico Gov. Lujan Grisham signs housing, infrastructure bills

New Mexico Gov. Lujan Grisham signs housing, infrastructure bills

On Wednesday, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed three major funding bills into law that could improve infrastructure all across the state.

SANTA FE, N.M. – On Wednesday, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed three major funding bills into law that could improve infrastructure all across the state.

During the 30-day session, the state Legislature passed a record-breaking budget, and we are getting a breakdown of where hundreds of millions of dollars will be going.

All three bills are related to improving a specific aspect of infrastructure in the state by making more funding available to different government agencies and to towns and cities across New Mexico.

House Bill 177

This law creates the New Mexico Match Fund, making millions of dollars in grants available to local governments. The goal of this fund is to give municipalities the money they need to apply for federal matching grants to make improvements to local infrastructure.

“There are unprecedented federal funding that is available through the bipartisan infrastructure law, and the Inflation Reduction Act. So 177, really provides our local communities with the funds to be able to secure those dollars and also help with the administration and compliance for federal grants,” said state Rep. Meredith Dixon. 

House Bill 195

This law sets aside more than $100 million to build more housing in New Mexico. 

Sponsors of this bill pointed out we have a 40,000 home deficit in the state and that deficit will only grow as more people move here.

So the governor says the goal of this law is to meet the growing workforce demand, and by increasing the supply they are hoping the average home price will go down.

House Bill 232

This bill will create the Infrastructure Planning and Development Division. This will be a new branch of the Department of Finance and Administration, and their goal will be to hire more staff in order to better track where government funding is going.

“We are investing in the ability to keep track of capital outlay and make sure that those dollars are working the most for everyday average New Mexicans, and we are utilizing these funds to the best of our ability,” said state Rep. Dayan Hochman-Vigil.

All of these bills have the possibility of greatly improving our state’s infrastructure from roads to drinking water, increasing broadband, and housing.

But all these projects will require construction crews, so KOB 4 asked the governor, “Does our state have the workforce to bring these projects to life?”

“We’re going to. This is a Legislature that also leaned in to pass legislation that’s creating funding to broaden, particularly in the trades, apprenticeship. No wrong door, we’re putting money into career technical education again, we’re creating — I’ll use the word incentives not mandates to make sure that our public school system is aligned. In this new legislation for apprenticeships, we’re talking about getting young people as young as 16 into this training program,” said Lujan Grisham.  

The governor has not yet signed those apprenticeship and workforce training bills into law yet, but says she plans to in the coming weeks.

Not many public safety bills made it to her desk, so there’s the question of will she call a special session?

The jury is still out on that. Lujan Grisham says she hasn’t decided whether or not to call a special session. She did say the state Legislature isn’t the only one who can make improvements to public safety, and she urges local governments to do just that.

“They can do more, so commissioners of city counselors do more. Think about ways to regulate it so that it’s fair, and we’re meeting the First Amendment and not interfering with businesses, but making sure that everyone safe,” said Lujan Grisham. 

She still has quite a few bills to sign before the March 20 deadline.