Lack of funds halts New Mexico road projects

Nearly $500 million financing shortfall delays 29 projects

News The Associated Press December 10, 2007
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A financing shortfall of nearly $500 million has 29 New Mexico road projects on hold, Transportation Secretary Rhonda Faught told members of the Legislative Finance Committee Dec. 7.

The projects, including a stretch of I-25 north of Albuquerque, will be delayed until more money is found to pay for them.

"We will be needing a new funding source or new revenues to get that done in the short term," Faught told the members of the committee.

The delayed projects were part of a $1.6 billion statewide transportation package approved in 2003 by the Legislature and Gov. Bill Richardson, but Faught said the state won’t have enough money from planned bond financing to cover the cost of the projects.

Faught said a major factor in the $494 million shortfall is rapidly rising construction costs, such as higher prices for asphalt, concrete and other materials. She said there had been 34% construction inflation.

In addition to the shortage, New Mexico isn't receiving as much federal highway money as it had anticipated when the transportation package was approved in 2003. Faught estimated the state will get $570 million less than expected between 2006 and 2010.

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