Albuquerque, NM – In order to adequately support New Mexico’s existing industries and provide for additional economic growth, the state will need to make numerous improvements to its surface transportation system. This is according to a new report released by TRIP, a Washington, DC based national transportation research organization.
TRIP’s report, “The Top 50 Surface Transportation Projects to Support Economic Growth and Quality of Life in New Mexico,” identifies and ranks the projects needed to provide New Mexico with a transportation system that can support the increased movement of people, goods and resources throughout the state. The reports says most needed surface transportation improvements in New Mexico include projects to build, expand or modernize highways or bridges, projects to improve rail or public transportation, and multi-modal projects. It adds these improvements would enhance economic development opportunities throughout the state by increasing mobility and freight movement, easing congestion, and making New Mexico an attractive place to live, visit and do business.
According to the TRIP report, the most needed projects for the state’s economic growth are as follows:
- 1. US 491 expansion to four lanes from Twin Lakes to Naschitti.
- 2. Reconstruction of US 64 from Farmington to McGee Park.
- 3. Reconstruction of I-25 Gibson, Cesar Chavez and Lead/Coal Interchanges.
- 4. Adding two lanes to US 82 from Artesia to Lovington.
- 5. Reconstruction of the Comanche, Montgomery, Jefferson, San Mateo and San Antonio I-25 Interchanges.
- 6. Reconstruction and rehabilitation of NM 68 in Espanola.
- 7. Construction of Central Corridor Bus Rapid Transit in Albuquerque.
- 8. Addition of a third lane on I-25 between the Rio Bravo and Broadway Interchanges.
- 9. Construction of a new four-lane roadway with bike and pedestrian amenities over the Animas River in Farmington.
- 10. Construction of a new river crossing from I-25 to NM 47 in Valencia County.
A full list of needed projects, descriptions and their impact on economic development can be found in the appendix of the report. TRIP ranked each transportation project based on a rating system that considered the following: short-term economic benefits, including job creation; the level of improvement in the condition of the transportation facility, including safety improvements; the degree of improvement in access and mobility; and the long-term improvement provided in regional or state economic performance and competitiveness.
"The New Mexico Legislature understands the importance in addressing the needs of our roads and bridges, and is moving forward by forming an Interim Subcommittee that is looking into ways to generate new dollars for New Mexico's transportation infrastructure that will benefit all areas of our state, urban and rural, in terms of our economy, jobs, and traffic safety," said New Mexico State Representative Roberto "Bobby" Gonzales, chairman of the New Mexico State House Transportation Committee.
“Increasing investment in New Mexico’s transportation network of roads, bridges and transit is vital to boosting the state’s economy and the quality of life of its residents,” said Will Wilkins, executive director of TRIP. “In the short term, transportation investment creates good jobs, but the long-term benefits of an efficient transportation system connecting New Mexico’s residents, communities and businesses can span generations. If state and federal lawmakers fail to provide adequate transportation funding, New Mexico and the nation will lose their competitive edge and the state's transportation system will become increasingly deteriorated and gridlocked."