Martinez To Request Road Funding To Offset Rail Runner Drain

New Mexico – Gov. Susana Martinez's administration plans to ask the Legislature to provide $41 million for road maintenance across the state to help offset a drain on the Transportation Department from costs of the Rail Runner commuter train system.

The Republican governor wants lawmakers to provide the money in a capital improvement bill during a special legislative session next week.

The Martinez administration developed the request after reviewing the Rail Runner's long-term costs.

An analysis by the Department of Finance and Administration estimates the commuter rail operation is costing an average of $65 million, with the state picking up the biggest share of that.

The largest expense is debt service averaging almost $42 million a year for the state to retire bonds for capital expenses to start the rail service.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.