Around $300 million in road construction and repair projects has been approved by the New Mexico House Appropriations and Finance Committee.
The funding is part of a significantly larger $7 billion budget plan that has also won the approval of that same committee.
That legislation is now expected to be voted on by the full House. If it survives there, the bill will be sent to the Senate.
The committee budget vote represents an 11 percent increase in spending over the current fiscal year’s budget.
Money for the roads will fund project design and construction, as well as maintenance and reconstruction of state-managed highways.
The largest budget appropriation at $449 million is slated to go for such educational purposes as pay raises for teachers and enhanced pre-kindergarten programs.
Officials with the New Mexico Department of Transportation have said that any funding approved by the legislature goes directly to both heavily traveled city roads, as well as decaying rural roads.
The DOT’s regular budget is made up of a state road fund, mostly used for highway maintenance, and federal funding awards that go for construction and debt service payments.
The DOT has said that its current unfunded maintenance needs are at $344 million, which includes $276 million to rehabilitate and build roads, as well as another $50 million for bridge replacement and repair.
By Garry Boulard
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