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Infrastructure issues facing the New Mexico legislature

Gov. Susana Martinez proposes earmarking about $112 million in bond proceeds for water projects across the drought-plagued state.

The Associated Press

1/20/2014

SANTA FE, N.M. — A look at infrastructure issues facing the Legislature, which convenes Tuesday:

BACKDROP: About $600 million in bond financing is available for capital improvement projects. Some of that goes for specific purposes, including public schools and projects on tribal lands. However, much of the financing will be divvied up by lawmakers and the governor for new projects, which can range from upgrades to government buildings to ballpark improvements in the home districts of legislators.

PROPOSALS: Gov. Susana Martinez proposes earmarking about $112 million in bond proceeds for water projects across the drought-plagued state. The governor also recommends creating a new fund that can provide emergency assistance to communities with drinking water problems. The Legislative Finance Committee has recommended $10 million in bond financing for highway maintenance and $6 million for a road to the state's commercial spaceport.

OUTLOOK: The governor and legislators often clash over the capital projects. Martinez has vetoed $27 million worth of projects in the past two years. Expect no long-term solution to problems confronting the state's highway system. Transportation revenue lags far behind projected needs for highway repairs and construction. Lawmakers are reluctant to consider raising taxes or fees to provide more money for road work.

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