New Mexico government leaders received praise from a coalition of energy companies for millions of dollars in road improvements in Southeast New Mexico.
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed the $7.4 billion fiscal year 2022 New Mexico State budget April 9.
The budget approved during the 2021 New Mexico Legislature set aside $300 million for roadway infrastructure and improvements.
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Lawmakers agreed to fund nearly $87 million in road projects across Southeast New Mexico, said Tracee Bentley, chief executive officer of the Permian Strategic Partnership (PSP).
“The approved budget and legislation will have an enormous impact on road safety advancements in southeastern New Mexico,” Bentley said.
“The projects supported through this funding will allow for direct action to improve priority roads projects in local communities, as well as help expedite work already underway on state roadways.”
A PSP press release indicated $25 million was set aside for the New Mexico Department of Transportation’s (DOT) District 2 office in Roswell for road projects in southeast New Mexico.
Lawmakers provided around $40 million for District 2 road projects through approved state bonding.
The Southeast Loop Road in Eddy County received $1.5 million for phase two construction and legislators set aside $20 million for District 2 from the Local Transportation Project Fund to support priority road projects in various communities.
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“In addition, legislation sponsored by State Sen. Gay Kernan (R-42) will help expedite already planned and funded improvements on New Mexico State Road 31 by allowing the project to use a streamlined design-build process,” Bentley said.
The recently approved funding and legislation is on top of critical transportation funding that has already gone to local projects in recent years including work on NM 128 and US 285, the press release indicated.
Moving forward, Bentley said the state will have opportunities to secure federal funding for Permian roads projects through proposed infrastructure investments moving through Congress.
Getting money from the State of New Mexico for road projects was a team effort according to Bentley, as representatives from PSP member companies have strong relationships with stakeholders in Southeast New Mexico.
“(Who) keep a pulse on what is happening in Santa Fe. And we appreciate legislators like Sen. Gay Kernan and State Rep. Cathrynn Brown (R-55), who understand the region and our local communities, representing the Permian in the Legislature,” she said.
Bentley said DOT Secretary Michael Sandoval has demonstrated a commitment to supporting roads in the Permian Basin.
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“We look forward to continuing to work with the secretary and his team to secure additional federal funding to support industry and save lives,” she said.
Manon Arnett, DOT District 2 spokesperson, said PSP’s commitment to safety was pivotal to DOT’s mission to provide a safe and efficient transportation system for the public.
“While promoting economic development and preserving the environment of New Mexico. This additional funding for Permian Basin Roads will help improve safety, enhance the current highways in the area, and alleviate congestion,” she said.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway said the City of Carlsbad shared the PSP’s enthusiasm to gather funding for road improvements across Southeast New Mexico.
“Especially those related to the construction of a loop road around Carlsbad,” he said.
“The oil and gas activity in Eddy and Lea County is vital to the entire state, but the need to address road repair is continual. We look forward to working with PSP to address this ongoing vital safety issue.”
Mike Smith can be reached at 575-628-5546 or by email at [email protected] or @ArgusMichae on Twitter.