New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham is expected to sign into law legislation that, in part, will do away with around 70 capital outlay projects approved earlier this year by members of the state legislature.
The new legislation, Senate Bill 5, is designed to drastically reduce spending on a wide variety of infrastructure projects in the wake of a faltering state economy sparked by the COVID-19 outbreak.
As proposed by Senators George Munoz and Stuart Ingle, Senate Bill 5 authorizes some $10.9 million in “capital outlay project voids,” according to an analysis prepared by the Senate Finance Committee.
The bill also calls for a $2.4 million lifting of funds from the border authority, “a reduction of $75 million from transportation projects authorized in 2019, and various other fund sweeps totaling $33.6 million.”
Funding yanked from earlier approved projects includes $823,000 for the Holocaust and Intolerance Museum in Albuquerque; $2.4 million for the a road extension project in Santa Teresa; and $750,000 for the expansion of a trades program facility at the Navajo Technical University in Crownpoint.
In the cost-cutting effort, even smaller outlays have been cancelled, a group that includes just over $12,000 for improvements to the Sacramento Mountains Museum in Cloudcroft; and $10,000 for improvements to a Santa Fe Community College adult education facility.
The capital outlay reductions come on the heels of some $150 million Lujan Grisham vetoed in March for road projects and public works.
In announcing those vetoes then, the Governor remarked: “We’ve got to be prepared as a state economically. We want to make sure we have enough money in reserves.”
The Governor has until July 12 to approve the capital outlay reduction legislation.
By Garry Boulard
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