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May 26, 2024
PI Global Investments

Invest NM’s $3.8B surplus in transformative Infrastructure projects

As the chair of the South Central Regional Transit District, I support Rep. Dayan Hochman Vigil’s introduction of a bill in this legislative session that will create the New Mexico Transportation Trust Fund. The fund would be developed with a one-time appropriation of nonrecurring money from the state General Fund. That money will be invested by the State Investment Council, the income from which will be accessible to the New Mexico Department of Transportation. Money in the trust fund will be used primarily for construction, maintenance, and other transportation projects prioritized and approved by the New Mexico Department of Transportation.

New Mexico’s roads and highways are in constant need of maintenance, updates, and construction. New Mexico’s multi-modal (rail, air, and bus) projects are also in need of additional investment and updates, and this fund will provide an ongoing revenue stream to ensure that there is adequate funding for the state’s transportation infrastructure needs even in years when the state does not have a budget surplus. We must take steps now to guarantee that these critical needs can always be met.

Another critical use for the annual proceeds from the Transportation Trust Fund is the funding of other priorities that arise from time to time, such as green transit projects. As New Mexico transitions to carbon neutrality, public transit will play a key part in achieving net zero emissions. This additional funding stream would allow public transit providers to expand their weekday and weekend hours, reducing vehicle traffic and increasing public safety. It would also allow providers to upgrade or expand fleets to make public transportation a more comfortable, convenient, attractive, and reliable solution for New Mexicans’ transportation needs.

In an age when Americans seem to be more divided than ever, the Transportation Trust Fund is a bi-partisan initiative that has received support from legislators across the state. We must get this done now while we have a large surplus. And, most importantly, this fund will make a permanent difference in how New Mexicans use, envision, and define infrastructure funding and development. This initiative will provide much-needed funding for our local infrastructure projects, including moving our bus fleet to zero emissions within the decade and supporting air quality initiatives that our community supports.

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