State economists estimate nearly $500 million is available to finance capital improvement projects across New Mexico.
The Legislative Finance Committee was told Monday the state can issue bonds backed by severance taxes to provide about $222 million for new capital projects, which will be determined by the Legislature and Gov. Susana Martinez next year when lawmakers meet in a 60-day legislative session.
State law earmarks about $175 million in bond financing for public school improvements and $33 million must go for water projects.
Nearly $34 million of available financing must be used for tribal infrastructure and capital improvements in colonias, which are poor communities usually near the border with Mexico.
The governor vetoed some capital projects earlier this year, complaining that lawmakers don't focus enough on statewide priorities.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.