New Mexico approves highway bill

News AASHTO Journal November 12, 2003
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By a close vote, the state senate of New Mexico approved Gov

By a close vote, the state senate of New Mexico approved Gov. Bill Richardson's $1.6 billion highway package by a vote of 22-18 during a special session.

Funding initiatives for the highway package comes from bond issues, tax, fee and vehicle registration increases. The tax and fee increases will raise approximately $60 million.

Among the items is a 3-cent increase in the tax on diesel fuel in July 2004--from 18 cents per gal to 21 cents--which will generate $14 million a year. Motor vehicle registration fees increase in March by roughly 33%, providing $22 million. Annual permits just from $60 to $250 for vehicles making trips of more than 75 miles. New Mexico plans to immediately issue $350 million in bonds and perhaps go as high as $1.6 billion to finance transportation projects.

Projects slated for immediate attention include reconstruction of the Coors Interchange along I-40 in Albuquerque, adding a third lane to I-25 in both directions from Albuquerque and Santa Fe and making U.S. 64 from Raton to Clayton four lanes. There is $189.7 million for improvements on U.S. 84/285 between Pojoaque and Espanola; and $80 million for improvements on U.S. 285 between Clines Corners and Lamy.

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