June 12, 2015

Top ten (plus two) individual capital outlay projects

The New Mexico Legislature passed a capital outlay bill that will fund more than 1,000 infrastructure projects throughout the state during a special session earlier this week.

RoundhouseDepending on your point of view, legislators came back and were able to put aside differences and pass a bipartisan bill or they finally got work done that should have been done in the 60-day session that took place earlier this year.

In all, there will be $295 million in spending, most from severance tax bonds but some from the state general fund and other state funds. The smallest amount appropriated was $1,000 for the Questa Veterans Memorial. Legislators earmarked over $16 million for the largest individual project.

Many of the largest earmarks are for statewide projects, such as $45 million for road projects throughout the state (about half from severance tax bonds, half from the general fund); here are the ten largest individual (not statewide or countywide) projects, using data collected by New Mexico In Depth.

Note: There is no guarantee that all these projects will be funded, as Gov. Susana Martinez has line-item veto authority.

  1. New Mexico Behavioral Health Institute Building (Las Vegas)—$16-$17.2 million

The single largest earmark is the $16 million for the Phase 3 of the Meadows building at the New Mexico Behavioral Health Institute in Las Vegas. The money will come from severance tax bonds.

An additional $1.2 million was also earmarked, though shared with “health facilities statewide,” so it is unclear how much will go directly to the Las Vegas facility.

  1. Santa Teresa Road Improvements—$8 million

The $8 million for Santa Teresa area road projects comes through two $4 million earmarks. One appropriation is through the general fund and one through the severance tax bonds.

Photo Credit: MTSOfan cc

Photo Credit: MTSOfan cc

Each of the earmarks will go to the Department of Transportation to use for planning, conducting environmental clearances, acquiring rights of way, constructing and reconstructing of three roads: New Mexico Highway 136, Airport Road and Industrial Road in the Santa Teresa area.

The area along the New Mexico-Mexico border has seen increased traffic in recent years from the heavy truck traffic and the roads have not held up.

  1. UNM Health Education Building (Albuquerque)—$5.3 million

In all, $5.3 million is coming to construction of the final phase of the UNM Health Education Building from the capital outlay bill.

The $2 million coming to the University of New Mexico Board of Regents, at least according to legislators, for the construction of the final phase of a health education building comes from the governmental gross receipts tax suspension subaccount of the public project revolving fund, or GGRTPPRF for short.

More funding is coming from less-confusing-sounding accounts.

Another $1.8 million is slated to head to the project from severance tax bonds, while $1,000,0000 is coming from the New Mexico Medical Board Fund and $500,000 from the Attorney General Settlement Fund.

  1. Allison Road Bridge Replacement (Gallup)—$4.5 million

The bridge across the Puerco River in Gallup is getting attention this year, with $2.25 million from severance tax bonds slated to go towards the construction of a bridge. It goes for everything from design to construction.

Another $1.6 million is going to the project from the 1993 Bond Project Fund for fiscal years 2015 through 2019, as well as $650,000 from the state general fund.

  1. Game and Fish Department Northwest Area Office (Albuquerque)—$4.5 million

Money to acquire land, plan, design, construction, equip and furnishing a northwest area office in Bernalillo County. The money comes from the Game Protection Fund.
In all, $8.3 million was earmarked from the fund, though for statewide projects. Another $700,000 was earmarked from the Game and Fish Bond Retirement Fund and $200,000 from the Trail Safety Fund for other projects.

  1. Zuni Senior Center (Zuni Pueblo)—$2.89 million

Senior centers were a big bone of contention between the House and Senate versions of capital outlay during the regular session. The special session version included $2.6 million to plan, design, construct, renovate, equip and furnish the senior center in the Pueblo of Zuni. Another $290,000 is earmarked for purchasing and equipping of vehicles at the senior center.

  1. New Mexico State Fair Improvements (Albuquerque)—$2.41 million
New Mexico State Fair. Photo Credit: Gents Wild cc

New Mexico State Fair.
Photo Credit: Gents Wild cc

The State Fair commission received $2.41 million for various improvements, including an electrical distribution system, a sewage transmission line replacement and renovating and replacing roofs at the New Mexico State Fairgrounds.

Another $70,000 is earmarked to go towards the purchase of a permanent art exhibit as well as digital, video, sound and lighting equipment and air conditioner for the African American performing arts center on the State Fairgrounds, and $45,000 towards improvements throughout the fairgrounds.

  1. Paseo del Volcan Project (Albuquerque)—$2,142,000

New Mexico Political Report previously wrote about the over-$2 million earmarked for the Paseo del Volcan project.

  1. New Mexico Tech Data and Telecommunications Center (Socorro)—$2 million

The New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology board of regents will receive $2 million for a data and telecommunications center from severance tax bonds.

  1. Firing Range Construction, Renovations (Santa Fe)—$2 million

A total of $2 million is going towards the construction and renovation of firing range sites in Santa Fe. It comes from $1 million from severance tax bonds for capital program projects as well as $1 million from the Capitol Buildings Repair Fund.

  1. Firefighter Training Burn Building (Socorro)—$2 million

The New Mexico Firefighters Training Academy in Socorro will get some improvements through the capital outlay bill. A total of $2 million for a “firefighter training burn building” at the facility that helps train firefighters.

  1. Jett Hall renovations (Las Cruces)—$2 million

The largest appropriation for New Mexico State University by legislators was for renovations to Jett Hall. In all, legislators appropriated $2 million. Of that, $1.5 million came from severance tax bonds while the other $500,000 comes from the Attorney General Settlement Fund.


  • Matthew Reichbach

    Matthew Reichbach is the editor of the NM Political Report. The former founder and editor of the NM Telegram, Matthew was also a co-founder of New Mexico FBIHOP with his brother and one of the original hires at the groundbreaking website the New Mexico Independent. Matthew has covered events such as the Democratic National Convention and Netroots Nation and formerly published, “The Morning Word,” a daily political news summary for NM Telegram and the Santa Fe Reporter.