Senate Proposes Capital Projects

New Mexico – Lawmakers are proposing to finance $240 million in capital improvements across New Mexico, including $15 million for projects needed for Native American water rights settlements.

The Senate Finance Committee approved the measure on Monday, sending it to the full Senate for consideration.

Although lawmakers are cutting spending on the state's operating budget, the Legislature is able finance capital improvements using bonds backed by severance tax revenues.

The bill will provide about $32 million for state highway improvements and $20 million for critical infrastructure needs at colleges and universities.

Unlike in the past, the capital outlay bill isn't filled with small projects in the home districts of legislators. The Senate committee focused on larger statewide projects such as improvements to state buildings and equipment.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.