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.